ISTANBUL — Police raids of 16 homes in Ankara and Istanbul, including those of journalists and a former intelligence officer, have been slammed by media colleagues, lawyers and opposition politicians as an “illegal” attempt to silence critical voices, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Turkish police conducted the raids Thursday as part of the ongoing Ergenekon case, an investigation into an alleged gang accused to plotting to topple the government.
Among the arrested was also Nedim Sener, an author and investigative reporter at daily Milliyet, who was chosen by the International Press Institute as a World Press Freedom Hero following the publication of his book “The Hrant Dink Murder and Intelligence Lies.”
Arrested was also Ahmet Sik, a prominent journalist who first revealed the “Ozden Ornek Coup Diaries,” which were key pieces of evidence in the original Ergenekon indictment in 2007.
“The searches are against the law. The search warrant does not state what the individuals are being accused of,” said Ankara Bar Association head Metin Feyzioglu, who held a press conference in front of one of the houses during the police raid. He said this lack of detail makes the documents illegal and put everyone in danger of being searched without cause.
“If journalists’ houses and offices are searched in the early hours of the morning without a concrete reason, this shows the [state of] democracy in Turkey must be questioned,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP.
The current situation is “ridiculous and tragic,” said journalist Ertugrul Mavioglu, noting that Ahmet Sik, one of the journalists whose homes were searched, had been instrumental in opening the Ergenekon case in the first place.
The diaries in Sik’s “Coup Diaries” story for weekly Nokta in 2007, an article that led to the magazine being shut down, were among the key evidence that led to the investigation, Mavioglu said.
It is a very “immoral accusation to place Ahmet Sik next to the ‘deep state’ and Ergenekon,” said Mavioglu, a journalist with daily Radikal and co-author with Sik of a two-volume book about the Ergenekon case. Speaking to the Daily News while in front of Sik’s house as the search continued, he said he cannot compare the situation to anything but McCarthyism.
The “deep state” is an alleged shadow organization of state officials and members of the military within the state. Though many people, including presidents, have claimed its existence, it has never been exactly defined. Some claim the alleged Ergenekon gang is another name for the deep state.

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