A court in Turkey has sentenced a Wall Street Journal reporter to more than two years in prison on terrorism charges over an article, the newspaper said in a statement Tuesday, in a case that highlighted the Turkish government’s escalating clampdown on press freedoms, The Washington Post reported.
The reporter, Ayla Albayrak, was in New York at the time of the sentencing and planned to appeal the decision, the Journal said.
The charges against Albayrak, a dual citizen of Turkey and Finland, stemmed from an article that she wrote two years ago on Turkey’s ongoing war with Kurdish militants, the Journal statement said.
“The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded,” said Gerard Baker, editor in chief of the Journal, according to the statement. “This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report.”
The source reminds that the sentence appeared certain to aggravate the ongoing dispute between Turkey and the United States. The feud burst into public view Sunday, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced that it was suspending the issuing of nonimmigrant visas at its missions in Turkey. The move was taken in response to Turkey’s arrest this month of the consulate employee, Metin Topuz, on espionage charges.
Turkey retaliated by quickly announcing an almost identical visa suspension. Erdogan, speaking in Belgrade, Serbia, weighed in on the dispute Tuesday, saying that “the offender in this problem is the United States of America itself.”