Turkish editor held in crackdown on nationalist radicals

March 21st, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by admin  

Ankara, March 21 (DPA) The Turkish police Friday took into custody the editor of a staunchly secularist newspaper and two other prominent secularists in the latest crackdown on a group of suspected nationalist extremists, Turkish media reported. Ilhan Selcuk, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily, was arrested in a dawn raid on his house in Istanbul by the police investigating the “Ergenekon” group who are suspected of having links to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalists Hrant Dink and of a Catholic priest.

Cumhuriyet is Turkey’s oldest newspaper and has carried out an unrelenting campaign against the government, accusing it of watering down strict secular laws.

Also arrested Friday morning were Dogu Perincek, the leader of the staunchly secular Labour Party, and Kemal Alemdaroglu, a former rector of Istanbul University.

The police operations against the Ergenekon group began in January with the arrest of a retired army general, a number of nationalist lawyers and members of underworld crime groups.

The group represents a strain of extreme nationalism in Turkey - it is also staunchly secularist and opposed to the Islamist government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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