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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Free press on trial in EU aspirant Turkey - by Andrew Rettman

The trial of 11 journalists - including Turkey's "last investigative reporter" - begins today, Tuesday (22 November) in a country which says it wants to join the EU.

Nedim Sener, Ahmet Sik and nine other journalists will face the court after spending six months in pre-trial detention on charges they support Ergenekon - an alleged conspiracy against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named after a fairy tale palace. If convicted, they will join the 63 newspaper men and women who are already in prison or the 50 journalists who live under threat of prison due to suspended sentences.

The trial comes one month after Turkey arrested Ragip Zarakolu, an eminent intellectual and free speech campaigner, on charges that he collaborates with an illegal Kurdish movement, the KCK. It also comes the same day the government launches a Chinese-style Internet filter designed to block access to thousands of websites containing pornography or Kurdish "separatist propaganda."

For more: EUobserver.com / Enlargement / Free press on trial in EU aspirant Turkey