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Turkey's president chides foreign envoys

Sun 27, March 2016 Kategori Magazin-Media

Istanbul-based diplomats were criticized by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday over their appearance at the espionage trial of two Turkish journalists.

Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, are charged with espionage, attempting to overthrow the governmentand revealing state secrets over a story accusing the government of attempting to deliver arms to Syria.

At the first day of their trial in Istanbul on Friday, a number of European diplomats, including the consul generals of Britain and France, Leigh Turner and Muriel Domenach, attended the hearing.

"There was a hearing yesterday of this known journalist,” Erdogan said during a business conference in Istanbul. "The status of people participating in this trial is very important.

"Consul generals in Istanbul attended this trial. Who are you and what business do you have there? This is not your country. You can move within your buildings and the borders of your consulate. Anything else is subject to permission.”

In January 2014, trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) were stopped in separate incidents on the way to Syria. In May last year, Cumhuriyet published images purporting to show shells and ammunition on board the trucks.

The prosecution has called for Dundar and Gul, who were held in prison for three months in the run-up to the trial, to besentenced to two life terms with an extra 30 years each.

They were released from prison after the Constitutional Court ruled their rights had been violated. Following the court’s ruling, Erdogan criticized the verdict, saying the court had acted against the country’s interest.

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