Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the recent Constitutional Court ruling that paved the way for the release of two arrested journalists, saying he “does not accept or respect” the decision and vowing not to “obey” it, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“This incident has nothing to do with freedom of expression, it is a case of spying,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 28 regarding the top court’s ruling on Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül.
Dündar and Gül were released early on Feb. 26 after 92 days in jail on terrorism charges, hours after the country’s top court’s ruled that their arrest had violated their rights.
The Constitutional Court ruled on Feb. 25 that their pre-trial detention had violated the fundamental rights of Dündar and Gül. Following the decision, Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes ordered their release but subjected them to an overseas travel ban.
“The media cannot have limitless freedom … These stories have included all kinds of attacks against this country’s president,” Erdoğan also said.
Dündar and Gül stand accused of “espionage threatening state security” and “supporting an armed terrorist organization” over stories published in Cumhuriyet about National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks allegedly sending weapons to unknown groups in Syria.
The two men were arrested by an Istanbul court on Nov. 26 last year, triggering reactions from press organizations, NGOs and many Western countries.
The indictment, which was completed on Jan. 27, demands the penalty of life in prison, penal servitude for life.