Journalist face jail for publishing widely reported wiretapping

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The Managing Editor of the Zaman newspaper, Harun Çümen, was threatened with a 17-year sentence for publishing the widely-reported ‘zero the money’ phone conversation recordings allegedly between Erdoğan and his son which the CHP leader played for Parliament.

The voice recordings allegedly belonging to then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and his son were played in Parliament on Feb. 25 by the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

In the recorded phone conversations, Erdoğan was heard instructing his son Bilal to dispose of vast amounts of cash on Dec. 17 2013, amid an ongoing corruption operation.

The conversations came at a time when police raided a number of locations as part of the operation that implicated the sons of three former ministers, as well as business executives and the chief of a state-run bank. In one of the recordings, Erdoğan asked Bilal to “zero” the money in their house.

Following Kılıçdaroğlu’s call for Erdoğan to resign after listening to the wiretaps in parliament, the full transcript of voice recording purportedly of Tayyip Erdoğan and his son was published at Zaman and as well as other newspapers Hürriyet, Taraf, Milliyet and Ortadoğu.

The decision later was explicated the criminal case filed against Harun Çümen on grounds of publishing the fabricated speech in the newspaper for political purposes during the Prime Ministry of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

‘The government is politicizing courts’

While lawyers stated that there is no such law nor crime exists in Turkish law, Harun Çümen reacted to the scandalous decision.

Çümen stated that the recordings which were released by the main opposition party in parliament session had newsworthy details. Following the court’s decision to try the case, Çümen commented that the process of the case shows that the government is overhauling the judicial system and trying to politicize courts.

“To prevent the publication of main opposition leader’s words is itself a censorship” said Çümen.

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