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>> In Turkey the country's oldest newspaper is making headlines itself, 17 Cumhuriyet journalists going on trial Monday accused of aiding terrorist groups. Which critics say is another sign that freedom of expression is under attack.>> I'm Reuters' Emily Wither, outside Istanbul's main courthouse where the trial is underway.
Chanting injustice, protestors gathered here in solidarity with the journalists. They met outside Cumhuriyet offices and marched here chanting, journalism is not a crime.>> If the employees of the country's main opposition newspaper are found guilty they could face up to 43 years in jail. Among the charges they're accused of supporting the network of US based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for masterminding last years failed coup.
Accusations dismissed by opposition lawmakers.>>
> Their arrests are part of a wider crackdown that has seen over 50,000 people detained, the suspected involvement in last July's failed coup. Around 150,000 people have also been dismissed from their jobs in a purge that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan say's is necessary to maintain national security.
The hearing coincides with an escalating dispute with Germany over the arrests in Turkey of ten rights activists, including one German. Critics of the crackdown argue there's been a second coup since the introduction of the state of emergency, with freedom of the media hit particularly hard. And with around a quarter of judges and prosecutors dismissed, critics also fear they won't receive a fair trail.