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Turkish government orders seizure of exiled journalist's property

Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant against former Cumhuriyet editor Can Dundar in 2018
Turkish journalist Can Dundar (2nd R) greets a fellown participant in a meeting with German and Turkish intellectuals discussing the Mediterranean region and Turkey on 6 October 2020 in Berlin (AFP)

A Turkish court has ordered the seizure of the property of opposition journalist Can Dundar, who is currently living in exile in Germany to escape a jail sentence.

The seizure includes three properties, one in Istanbul, one in the capital Ankara and another in the southern province of Mugla, Istanbul's 14th Heavy Penal Court declared.

Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant against the former editor-in-chief of Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet in 2018 and requested his extradition from Germany.

Dundar was sentenced to jail by a Turkish court in May 2016 over a story about an arms shipment intercepted at the Syrian border. 

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"The real 'home' of a human being is his country. We, 82 million citizens, are about to lose that great home in the dark," Dundar tweeted in reaction to the court verdict.

"This is what matters more than any other house."

The move came in the wake of a decision by the Heavy Penal Court in September that Dundar would be deemed a “fugitive” and have his assets seized if he did not return to Turkey within 15 days.

Turkey is widely accused by rights advocates of undermining press freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down media outlets.

The country is ranked 154th out of 180 on the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders.