Turkish court frees 2 journalists on bail in trial of Cumhuriyet opposition paper

Murat Sabuncu, left, and Ahmet Sık reunite with a colleague Saturday at their newspaper in Istanbul.

(CNN)Two Turkish journalists from the country's opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper have been released on bail after spending more than a year in pretrial detention on terror-related charges.

Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and investigative journalist Ahmet Sık were among more than a dozen journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet to be placed on trial accused of supporting terror organizations operating in Turkey.
At a hearing Friday, a court in Silivri, outside Istanbul, ruled the two men should be released but the charges against them still stand.
    The newspaper's chairman, Akin Atalay, remains in custody, however.
    The trial, which began in July, is seen as a test of press freedom. The journalists and staff of Cumhuriyet, a nearly century-old secular opposition newspaper, were swept up as authorities clamped down on dissent following an attempted coup in 2016.
    Cumhuriyet has remained critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, despite the crackdown.
    Sık, one of Turkey's most prominent investigative journalists, was tried and imprisoned before for a book he wrote focusing on the infiltration of the Turkish police force by followers of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.
    He and his Cumhuriyet colleagues are now accused of aiding members of Gulen's movement -- which Turkey says was behind the coup attempt -- in addition to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Gulen has denied involvement in the failed coup.
    Colleagues welcome the release of Sabuncu, second left, and Sık, second right, on Saturday in Istanbul.
    Speaking to reporters after his release Friday, Sık said, "Today is not a day of celebration. Six years ago in March, I was released. It is March again, but the only thing that has changed is that there is one less partner to fascism in this country.
    "But the day will come to celebrate -- the day will come when the reign of this mafia sultanate comes to