Turkey, World

Turkey probes link of Zaman daily's ad to foiled coup

Controversial commercial made by FETO-linked daily over 9 months ago allegedly hinted at an upcoming coup bid in Turkey

Ahmet Sait Akçay   | 06.08.2016
Turkey probes link of Zaman daily's ad to foiled coup

Ankara

By Muhammed Enes Can and Halil Demir

ISTANBUL

A former advertising executive of Zaman daily was remanded in custody Saturday as part of a probe into a controversial commercial allegedly hinting at an impending coup bid some nine months before the July 15 events played out.

Zaman daily is affiliated with the U.S.-based preacher, Fetullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish government of being the mastermind of the defeated coup.

Two people, including the ex-advertising executive, Yakup Simsek, and owner of the advertisement agency that made the commercial, identified as T.M.S., were detained and presented before a court in Istanbul, according to a judicial source.

While the court remanded Simsek in custody, the agency owner was released under judicial control, the source said.

The source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, said: “The advertisement in question was made on the orders of Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli…it was a message to the organization’s army wing.”

The court also previously issued an arrest warrant for the fugitive, Dumanli, who is also accused of "attempting by force to abolish the constitutional order of the Republic of Turkey, replace it with another order or block its de facto implementation."

The controversial commercial, which is available on YouTube, begins with sirens wailing across an aerial shot of a city that then abruptly cuts to a giggling baby in the end.

On July 27, Istanbul prosecutors ordered the detention of 47 former Zaman staff. Following the court order, 21 suspects were held; 18 have been remanded in custody since then.

The newspaper's management was taken over in March when an Istanbul court appointed trustees to the Feza Gazetecilik Media Group, which includes Zaman. The publication itself was later closed down.

Feza Gazetecilik Media Group was accused of supporting the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, headed by Gulen, which has allegedly infiltrated Turkey’s state apparatus with thousands of followers in an effort to overthrow the government.

Following the failed coup, which martyred at least 240 people and left nearly 2,200 others wounded, Turkey sent the U.S. an official request for Gulen’s extradition.

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