December 19, 2014 / 12:37 PM / in 3 years

Turkey keeps media executive in custody on terrorism charge

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish court kept a media executive and three other people in custody on Friday pending trial on accusations of belonging to a terrorist group, in a case which President Tayyip Erdogan has defended as a response to “dirty operations” by his enemies.

Hidayet Karaca heads Samanyolu Television which is close to the president’s ally-turned foe Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric. Erdogan accuses Gulen of seeking to topple him through supporters in the judiciary and police.

The European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join, has said last weekend’s police raids to detain Karaca and other media workers was contrary to European values but Erdogan told the bloc to mind its own business.

Ekrem Dumanli, editor-in-chief of the Gulen-linked Zaman newspaper, was released but forbidden from traveling abroad before trial. Seven more people whom prosecutors sought remanded in custody in the case were also released pending trial.

Erdogan and Gulen have been in open conflict since a corruption probe targeting Erdogan’s inner circle a year ago, which Erdogan blamed on Gulen. The cleric denies involvement.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Trevelyan

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