ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for journalist Can Dundar as part of an investigation into protests in Istanbul in 2013 against President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, state-run Anadolu agency said on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said he played an active role in the protests and provoked public unrest through social media. They also said he supported members of a terrorist organisation against the police, the news agency said.
It is not clear how the warrant can be served because Dundar has left the country.
Dundar, a former editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, was sentenced in 2016 to five years for publishing a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. He was released pending appeal and went abroad.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in 2013 to protest a plan to build a replica of an Ottoman barracks on Gezi park in the centre of the city. The protests turned into a direct challenge to Erdogan’s government.
“#HepmizGezideydik We feel proud,” Dundar wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday, sharing Anadolu’s story about his arrest warrant. The hashtag translates to: “We were all at Gezi”.
Two weeks ago 13 people were arrested as part of the Gezi investigation.
Erdogan says the protests were organised and financed by Osman Kavala, a businessman and rights activists. Kavala was detained more than a year ago in connection with the investigation. He has not been charged over the protests and denies the claim against him.
The prosecutor also said Dundar was in contact with Kavala during the protests in a written arrest request to the court, Anadolu reported.
Aside from the investigation into the Gezi Park protests, authorities have detained tens of thousands of people they suspect in the wake of a coup attempt in 2016 of opposing Erdogan’s government.
Turkey’s western allies have voiced concern over the crackdown on journalists, academics, rights activists and criticised Erdogan for using it to muzzle dissent and increase his own power.
(Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)