A prominent Turkish journalist whose revelations had launched massive and sometimes controversial coup trials was detained on Tuesday morning -- for the fourth time.
The news was broke by Mehmet Baransu's colleague Emre Uslu, who is a columnist with Taraf, Baransu's newspaper, and Today's Zaman. He said he didn't know on what grounds Baransu was taken, but, "politically," he was taken because he "didn't keep silent." Uslu argued that Baransu's detention was a message to other critical journalists: "Keep silent or we will obliterate you."
There was no initial comment from authorities and the report on Baransu's decision was still unconfirmed as of Tuesday morning. Baransu was detained three times before, on various charges. He is one of the leading outspoken journalists and represent a newspaper that has been on the front in criticizing the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president.
Many on the social media speculated that Baransu was detained to be questioned about two controversial CDs he provided to prosecutors six years ago -- primary evidence of alleged coup planning by senior Turkish army officers, who spent years inside the prison pending trial. A recent court-sanctioned report by experts concluded that signatures on the CDs were fake and that invalidates their content.
Baransu's detention came a day after former army chief İlker Başbuğ spoke in length about a "plot" to jail him and his colleagues. Başbuğ was condemned to a life in prison both from Ergenekon and Sledgehammer coup trials. Most of the suspects and convicts in these trials were set free this summer after the Constitutional Court ruled that most of the defendants' rights were violated with unnecessary arrests before conclusive court decisions.
On Monday, Başbuğ also went to İstanbul courthouse to file a complaint for what he claimed a "plot" to jail him and his fellow army officers.
Erdoğan publicly rejected the detention of Başbuğ and said "history won't forgive those who label the army chief as a member of a terror group." He, however, vociferously supported the coup trials and even said he was the "prosecutor" of the investigations.