The police entered the office of Sendika.org at 5:45 Thursday morning. They confiscated a hard drive and a mobile phone, and then they took the editor, Ali Ergin Demirhan, away in handcuffs. A few days after the constitutional referendum, he gave voice to suspicions of fraud. Now he’s in the hands of the police.
The left-wing news agency Sendika specializes in coverage of trade union activities and workers movements. It’s no stranger to government attacks in its 16 years of operation, funded by private donations and volunteer work. In the past 18 months, the site has been blocked 31 times — 17 of which happened in the two weeks preceding the vote on April 16.
Before being dragged into the Esenler police station, Demirhan managed to send a few tweets in which he narrated the raid on their headquarters. He said his crime was “to describe the yes victory as illegitimate.”
But, he added, “millions of people know the real result.” The official charge is more complicated, of course: According to police, the editor was “organizing protests on social media trying to paint the outcome of the referendum as illegitimate and inciting people to insult public officials.”