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The former editor of Cumhuriyet newspaper has been stripped of his assets and declared a fugitive in Turkey. He fled to Germany amid the Turkish crackdown on journalists and the public sector after a failed coup.
Turkish journalist Can Dundar was effectively exiled on Wednesday, as an Istanbul court declared him a fugitive of justice and ordered his assets be seized.
Dundar, the former editor of the independent Cumhuriyet newspaper, had been given 15 days to return to Turkey from Germany, where he is now living. He opted not to.
The court then ordered the seizure of four properties belonging to Dundar in Ankara, Istanbul and Mugla as well as bank accounts in his name.
He was arrested in 2015 following the publication of an article on the use of Turkish weapons by Islamist rebels in Syria. He was charged with various offenses including supporting a terrorist group.
His arrest came as part of a massive crackdown on independent press in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup, which resulted in the closure of news outlets, and the jailing of journalists on trumped up charges.
The practice continues, with the European Union yesterday warning Turkey that was eroding democratic values and that its chances of ever joining the bloc were evaporating.
Read more (a 2019 guest column by Dundar): 'Did I upset you, boss?'
Wednesday's ruling was announced by various state news outlets and confirmed by Dundar and Germany's DPA news agency.
Dundar wrote on Twitter: "A person's real 'home' is his country. We, the 82 million citizens, are on the verge of losing this great home to darkness."
"At the moment, this is more important than any other home."
On Wednesday, the International Press Institute (IPI) condemned the decision, having earlier called on Germany, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, to help defend fundamental rights in Turkey. Greens politician Cem Özdemir, who has roots in Turkey, told an IPI online conference that the EU remained divided on its obligations where human rights in Turkey are concerned.
Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also condemned the decision, saying "Obviously, for Erdogan and his regime, having launched an arbitrary procedure against a renowned journalist who honors his profession was not enough! They wanted to go as far as depriving him of his assets and memories.
With additional material from DPA.