In Istanbul, the journalist Deniz Yücel has been released after a year of preventive detention linked to an alleged accusation of propaganda in favor of terrorism.
Just a few hours later Friday, another court sentenced six journalists, writers and academics to life imprisonment, among them the renowned writer Ahmet Altan and his journalist brother Mehmet. It was a severe blow dealt to the already vanishing notion of the rule of law in Turkey, as in the span of just a few hours its limitations and shortcomings after a year and a half of post-coup repression were laid bare.
Yücel’s release had been awaited since Feb. 27, 2017, when he was arrested for his reporting from the southeastern part of Turkey and his interviews with Cemil Bayak, one of the leaders of the PKK, and the representatives of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). His release was highly likely especially after Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim’s words on Feb. 15. At a public hearing, Yildirim said he was hopeful that Yücel would be released soon—another twist in a story that has little to do with the judicial sphere and a lot to do with the political.