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Third Turkish journalist arrested amid fears of Ankara censorship: reports

Local media has reported that a third Turkish reporter has been arrested, amid concern Ankara is cracking down on free speech. Yesterday, protesters took to the streets following the arrest of two other journalists.

Ertugrul Ozkok, a reporter for the Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet, was arrested following an allegedly slanderous article criticizing the country's president, local media and German news agency DPA reported.

Ozkok (pictured) had written a critical column in September that was presumed to have been directed at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though it didn't actually use the politician's name. He faces up to five years and four months in prison.

The news follows growing concern that Erdogan's government is cracking down on free speech in Turkey. Just two days ago, two other journalists working for a different publication were also arrested.

Public backlash

Following the earlier arrests, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of the Istanbul office of the Cumhuriyet newspaper in solidarity with the journalists.

The publication's editor in chief, Can Dundar, and its Ankara representative, Erdem Gul, were sent to prison on Thursday, following the publication of photos reportedly showing Turkish trucks delivering arms to Syrian militants.

President Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against the journalists after information was leaked suggesting that the trucks were indeed delivering arms or ammunition to Turkmen fighters in Syria. Prosecutors subsequently launched a criminal probe into the two.

Their arrest also prompted a response from the US Embassy in Turkey.

Protesters on Saturday said Erdogan's government was trying to "silence" free speech, as well as cover up a government scandal.

blc/rc (dpa, AP, AFP)

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