ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police detained two more suspects on Saturday over the attempted shooting of a prominent Turkish journalist as he waited outside an Istanbul courthouse for a verdict in his trial.
A gunman attempted to shoot Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the secular Cumhuriyet newspaper, on Friday, hours before he was sentenced by the court to more than five years in jail for revealing state secrets.
The attacker shouted “traitor” before firing at least two shots in quick succession. Dundar was unharmed but a journalist covering the trial, which has caused widespread alarm about freedom of the press in Turkey, was injured.
The assailant, who has since been identified as a 40-year-old from the Anatolian city of Sivas, was detained at the scene.
Turkish police detained two suspects reported to be the gunman’s associates, Anadolu reported, citing police. No one was immediately available for comment at Istanbul police offices.
The court sentenced Dundar to five years and 10 months and his colleague Erdem Gul to five years for publishing footage purporting to show the state intelligence agency taking weapons into Syria in 2014.
They had faced up to life in prison and were acquitted of some charges, such as attempting to topple the government. The two are free pending appeal.
President Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged that the trucks, stopped by gendarmerie and police officers en route to the Syrian border in January 2014, belonged to the National Intelligence Organisation. He said they were carrying aid to Turkmen battling both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and Islamic State militants.
Erdogan, who was named as a complainant in the case, has accused the pair of undermining Turkey’s international reputation and vowed Dundar would “pay a heavy price”, raising opposition concerns about the fairness of any trial.
Under the ruling AK Party, which was founded by Erdogan, Turkey has seized control of opposition newspapers and broadcasters and cut the satellite feed of a pro-Kurdish channel, accusing them of terrorism-related activities.
Journalists have been targeted in the past. Last month senior Turkish security officials were among 34 defendants put on trial accused of links to the murder of a prominent Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, a decade ago.
Dink, who ran a newspaper serving Turkey’s 60,000 Christian Armenians, was gunned down in broad daylight on a busy Istanbul street in 2007.
Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Digby Lidstone