Turkey acquits Bloomberg reporters over economy report

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish court on Friday acquitted two journalists from the U.S. Bloomberg news agency accused of trying to undermine Turkey’s economic stability with a story about Turkey’s 2018 currency crisis.

Istanbul-based reporters Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalinkilic faced up to five years in prison for the article they wrote in August 2018.

About 30 other defendants – including prominent economist Mustafa Sonmez and journalist Sedef Kabas – who were also on trial for their social media comments about Turkey’s economy and banks – were also acquitted.

All of the defendants, who were charged following a complaint from Turkey’s banking watchdog, had denied the charges.

Their case was seen as part of a government crackdown on journalists and media outlets critical of the government. According to the Turkish Journalists Syndicate, no less than 26 journalists and other media professionals are currently in prison.

Turkey’s currency hit historic lows in the summer of 2018 amid deteriorating relations with the United States following the arrest of an American pastor.

The Turkish economy is currently in the grip of a new crisis, with inflation at 61% and a 44% drop in the value of the pound against the dollar in 2021.

Sharon P. Juarez