A Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison Tuesday, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her Journal articles, WSJ reported.
The conviction of Ms. Albayrak, who is currently in New York, highlights the increasing targeting of journalists in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has gained attention for deteriorating media freedoms.
“This was an unfounded criminal charge and wildly inappropriate conviction that wrongly singled out a balanced Wall Street Journal report,” said Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Gerard Baker. “The sole purpose of the article was to provide objective and independent reporting on events in Turkey, and it succeeded.”
Ms. Albayrak, who has dual Finnish and Turkish citizenship, plans to appeal the decision. “Given the current climate in Turkey, this appalling decision shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, but it did,” she said.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it condemned the Turkish court decision.