Turkey Prosecution Seeks Life Sentence for Journalist Sued by President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a rally marking the 562nd anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 30, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A prosecutor in Turkey has demanded a life sentence for Can Dündar, Editor-in-chief at daily Cumhuriyet, Turkish news outlets report.

Separately, an aggravated life sentence and 42 years of imprisonment have been requested.

Earlier President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lodged a criminal complaint against Dündar over his newspaper's coverage of alleged weapons and ammunitions supplies sent to Syria in trucks upon the instructions of intelligence officials.

In Erdogan's words, the Cumhuriyet report amounts to "slander and an illegitimate operation against the MIT [the national intelligence service]" and is also "an act of espionage," as Hürriyet Daily News quotes him as saying.

The President told TRT Haber News on Sunday that "the person who did the exclusive report about it will pay a heavy price for it".

Turkey's head of state says in his complaint that the "fabricated footage" leaked to him "the parallel organization", a group linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, is aimed at conveying the image of Turkey as a country "helping terrorist organizations".

The opposition for its part slammed at Erdogan, with Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu saying his move to intimidate a journalist "for the very first time" is a sign of his "impotence".

On June 7 Turkish citizens will be heading to the polls to vote for a new Parliament, as Erdogan is pinning his hopes on a 2/3+ majority in the legislature which would help him change the constitution, switching to a presidential system.

Erdogan was PM from 2003 to 2014, and was overwhelmingly elected President last year.

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