Journalist Dead and 3 More Arrested After Exposing Turkey Is Arming Syrian Extremists

Serena Shim was war correspondent for Press TV who was killed in a car crash that her employer called "suspicious."):

Serena Shim was war correspondent for Press TV who was killed in a car crash that her employer called “suspicious.”):

By Claire Bernish | The Anti Media

(ANTIMEDIA) Istanbul, Turkey — Just over a week after Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief, Can Dündar, represented the Turkish daily news outlet in receiving a press freedom award, he and another top editor were arrested and jailed on charges of espionage. In question was a controversial article exposing arms shipments from Turkish intelligence to Syrian extremist rebels.

“We have been arrested,” tweeted Dündar on Thursday. “Don’t worry, these are medals of honor for us.”

He explained further: “We are accused of ‘spying.’ The president said ‘treason.’ We are not traitors, spy [sic], or heroes; we are journalists. What we have done here is an act of journalism,” said Dündar before testifying on Thursday. “Of course, this prosecution will help enlighten how these incidents took place, rather than how we covered this story.”

Related Article: Terrorism Act Used as Reason for Seizing Journalist’s Computer

Now a third Turkish journalist has been arrested, according to local reports. Ertuğrul Özkök, a reporter for Turkish daily Hüriyet, has been arrested for a slanderous criticism of who is presumed to be Erdoğan — even though the president wasn’t explicitly named anywhere in Özkök’s article. As if more evidence of Turkey’s quashing free press and free speech were needed, Özkök potentially faces five years and four months in prison for expressing this opinion.

Dündar and Ankara correspondent, Erdem Gül, if found guilty on charges of spying, as well as aiding a terrorist organization, could spend the rest of their lives in a Turkish prison — for doing their job. There is a painfully ironic undercurrent in the charges considering the subject of the article is the Erdoğan administration’s complicity in arming Syrian extremists (read:terrorists).

Erdoğan himself sued Dündar and accused Cumhuriyet of releasing false information and spying when the story first exploded, stating at the time the journalist responsible would “pay a heavy price,” as the Wall Street Journal reported.

Despite Cunhuriyet’s recent honor from Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF, or Reporters Without Borders), under the paranoid, watchful eye of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, journalists — and dissenters — have faced sweeping general censorship. Dündar and Gül might be the most prominent recent examples of Erdoğan’s attempt to keep “state secrets” concealed from public scrutiny, but they’re not the first journalists to poke this particular sore spot.

In fact, the last time a reporter tried to expose Turkey’s complicity in arming Syrian extremists, she met an untimely and as-yet unexplained death under seriously suspicious circumstances that remain inscrutable to this day — even to her own family.

PressTV reporter Serena Shim, a U.S. citizen, had been investigating the flow of anti-Assad militants and weapons from Turkey’s border region into northwestern Syria amidst heavy fighting near the town of Kobanî. During this time, she attracted the attention of Turkish Intelligence (MiT — Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı). Though locals knew her and the integrity of her reporting, MiT proceeded to question them and requested her whereabouts — under the unfounded guise Shim had been acting as a spy.

In reality, Shim had uncovered evidence of secret Western assistance to the Islamic State” — a particularly touchy subject for Erdoğan, as seen in the arrests of Dünbar and Gül. Her video evidence of this assistance — reportedly “proof of Islamic State terrorists using United Nations World Food Program vehicles for a convoy” into Syria, likely akin to Dünbar and Gül’s discovery — has never been recovered. Her passport and wedding ring, seized by Turkish authorities sometime after her death, have never been returned to her family.

Related Article: James Risen on Why Journalists Must ‘Fight Back’

Serena Shim and her cousin, cameraperson Judy Irish, unlike the arguably more fortunate Dünbar and Gül, were ostensibly “hit by a truck after turning into the opposite lane on a highway access road,” as reported in Shim was killed, though discrepancies are plentiful in official reports, including whether she died at the scene or an hour later from heart failure in the hospital. Shim and Irish were inexplicably taken to hospitals over 25 miles apart from each other by Turkish military officials, not police, who ‘investigated’ the wreck. After outrage from Shim’s family, Turkish authorities — who first claimed they were unable to locate the vehicle responsible for hitting Shim and Irish — eventually produced photos of the accident, which they then claimed had been caused by a cement truck driver.

Shim’s family has yet to receive answers from either Turkish or U.S. authorities about her dubious demise. On October 20, 2014, Marie Harf of the State Department took questions from the press on a number of subjects, including rumors surrounding Shim’s death. According to the transcript:

QUESTION: Does the U.S. have any comment on reports the death of U.S. citizen Serena Shim in Turkey may be more than just a car crash, following her reports that ISIS militants are being smuggled across the Syrian border?

HARF: Yes. We can confirm that she died in Turkey on October 19th and extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Adana are in contact with her family and providing all possible consular assistance. For any details or information about the investigation, I think local authorities in Turkey are handling that.

QUESTION: But I mean, the question was whether you believe that her death had anything other than to do than [sic] a car crash.

HARF: I just don’t have anything further for you than that.

QUESTION: Can you take the question?

HARF: I can, but I don’t think I’m going to have anything further.

On November 20th, the media again attempted to press for answers about Shim’s death during a daily briefing given by Jeff Rathke. Per the transcript:

QUESTION: It’s about the journalist Serena Shim, who died in Turkey under very suspicious circumstances. Did her death raise suspicions here at the State Department?

RATHKE: Well, I think we’ve spoken to this in the briefing room several weeks ago, after it happened. I don’t have anything to add to what the spokesperson said at the time, though.

QUESTION: But then she died several days after she claimed she had been threatened by the Turkish intelligence. Have you inquired about this? Have you asked questions? Is there really nothing new about this?

RATHKE: Well, I just don’t have any update to share with you. Again, this was raised shortly after her death. The spokesperson addressed it. I don’t have an update to share with you at this time.

This icy response sharply contrasts that given by the State for other ‘American’ journalists killed or captured in the area for whom President Obama’s administration appeared to react with care and criticism, such as with James Foley (who was beheaded by ISIS).

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Mark Toner released a statement on Thursday concerning the arrests of Dünbar and Gül:

“We are troubled by the pre-trial arrest yesterday of senior editors of the respected Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.

“The investigation, criminal charges, and arrest raise serious concerns about the Turkish government’s commitment to the fundamental principle of media freedom. These events are only the latest in a series of judicial and law enforcement actions taken under questionable circumstances against Turkish media outlets critical of the government.

“We call on Turkish authorities to ensure that all individuals and organizations — including but not limited to the media — are free to voice a full range of opinions and criticism, in accordance with Turkey’s constitutional guarantees of media freedom and freedom of expression.”

Most troubling in the silencing of Shim, Dünbar, Gül, and now Özkök are the very real consequences the verity of their reports of the Erdoğan government’s complicity in arming and aiding the Islamic State could have in NATO operations in the region. Should their separate, same discoveries have merit — and considering Erdoğan’s swift and heavy-handed reaction, they likely do — Turkey’s agenda stands at cross purposes with the supposed coalition goal of stunting ISIS. Even Vice President Joe Biden implicated Turkish involvement in the ISIS arms trade, though he apologized and essentially recanted that claim shortly afterwards.

Shortly after Shim’s mysterious death, the Daily Mail revealed video of Turkish border police having friendly interactions with ISIS fighters — apparently further evidence supporting the journalists’ claims.

The U.S. and other allies of Turkey quickly reacted in solidarity with the recent downing of a Russian jet that apparently breached Turkish air space — but is it possible that alliance isn’t as committed to ending ISIS’ growth as it purports to be? Though mostly unstated by the media and State, it has been widely and criticallyrumored U.S. involvement in the Syrian imbroglio has far more to do with deposing President Bashar al-Assad than leveling the burgeoning Islamic State.

In one of Shim’s final reports from her investigation, she revealed local Turkish populations near the Syrian border simply want an end to fighting. She disclosed many refugee camps in that border region were, in actuality, training camps for militants.

Related Articles: BBC Journalist Comes Clean: “Believe Nothing You Read Or Watch”

In interviews with local residents, it became clear Erdoğan’s stance on Assad — whom they claim the president used to call “our brother” — sharply reversed after consulting with U.S. officials.

According to Shim, locals stated, “We want Turkey and Syria to be friends again. We want the Syrian militants outside of Turkey’s territory.” She also explained locals “blame their government for the entire chaos taking place across the border [in Syria], calling their Prime Minister a ‘puppet of Israel and the United States.’”

Shim’s family is still waiting for information from the U.S. about her death. Judy Irish survived the deadly ‘accident,’ but so far has not come forward with any public statements about the incident. Press freedom in Turkey, meanwhile, has become a bit of an oxymoron.

Perhaps Voltaire said it best:

“To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?”

This article (1 Journalist Dead, 3 More Arrested After Exposing Turkey Arming Syrian Extremists) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo,

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  1.' says:

    Wen gun is in hand: head and heart will not function

  2.' Thomas Faggard says:

    Thanks Shared!

  3.' Charles King says:

    Turkey as lost the free press and gained bribes from the EU west

  4.' Vanja Helena Fahrenheim says:


  5.' Angela Kessler says:


  6.' Bilal Bakri says:

    keep this page cleaaaaan

  7.' Mark Treat says:

    And to think we just celebrated “Turkey Day”…. smh

  8.' Archie Anderson says:

    These bastards are killing journalists! google Jacky Sutton.

  9.' Imma Lima says:

    They are heroes !!!???

  10.' AJ Abhishek says:


  11.' Karen Neumann Puklin says:

    Mrutyuanjai Mishra

  12.' Edwin Choko says:

    Sad reality, the U.S.A aiding and abating ISIS militants and other militia groups around d world to wreck havoc all for power.

  13.' Jasmine Leigh says:

    In all fairness, so is Obama. He was smuggling arms in Libya as well. Google his Presidential Study Detective 11 and the Muslim Brotherhood (subject of his study) and you’ll understand that we’ve been doing the bidding of the Muslim Brotherhood (who is exiled in Syria) for a long time. Obama and previous presidents have been backing regimes and organizations they want to promote and in doing so in Syria, “anti-gun” Obama provided arms to rebel groups (civilians in other countries) who then joined ISIS or sold them to ISIS. Turkey is also involved. Read up on the Muslim Brotherhood and it will all make sense… Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and more…

    •' Tim Wells says:

      The elite run this world and we are their pawns.Governments do what they are told.Its their job along with the media to convince us to follow their lead.And without hesitation when we are asked to “jump”we respond,”how high”!??????

  14.' Jack Elms says:

    Good to know. And now I ask, why are we supporting Turkey? The lies continue.

  15.' Seve Nordborg says:

    The truth can no one take away from mee

  16.' Alphonce Mutaboyerwa John says:

    It needs wisdom- when, how, to who, what to expose the truth.

  17.' Mirna Orozco Macias says:


  18.' Janevarkey Vazhail says:


  19.' Cory Berg says:

    It’s such BS that they don’t even recognize the crime, the politicos recognize the behavior as ‘normal’ tho, and that is all they respond to, pass their bucket of crap down the line

  20.' Joanne Benzenhafer says:

    We have freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Not many other countries do. Reporters need to realize their actions have reactions in very unpleasant places.

  21.' Daniel Hagan says:

    Is this just a distraction from the real truth, what is the truth anymore, we can’t rely on the media that is owned by foreign interest, they put so much smoke and mirrors in the media to confuse us it’s very disheartening, people who believe the lies are going out and killing people. I’ve heard too many people say War will bring this country together when I know wars are for profit not to make the world safe for democracy or for king and country, we are killing this planet for profit.

    •' Kostos Declan says:

      Ahm sir. Rethink your starting statement. If you dont know what the truth is then how is this a distraction from it. Come on.

  22.' Cara Mullane says:

    Ike Zanos

  23.' Tony Bianco says:

    Dictatorship at its best. If you can’t controle them – kill them.

  24.' Kevin Meredith says:

    Welcome to the Conscious Life News needs to do an article on Gangstalking and Targeted Individuals which is occurring not only around the world, but here at home in America. The truth can get you targeted. This endtimes persecution is satanic and real.

  25.' Gyula Csoka says:


  26.' Lo Amelia B says:

    Get em Russia!

  27.' Jim S. Karg says:

    simply shut up about certain things. easy for me…

  28.' Mohamed Gaballa says:

    Very true…

  29.' Cobber Pratt says:

    And Obamas 1st stop on his tour ??

  30.' Raphael Sagaz says:

    Domenico Houstaff ????

  31.' Berra Karahanli says:

    What BS store its sad that you are getting involve such lia stories

  32.' Jeremy Hood-Daniel says:

    If that is what you came here to do, DO IT ANYWAY

  33.' Pabbum Bakar says:

    Media can make the oppressed to be the oppressor

  34.' Pabbum Bakar says:

    I hate this shit

  35.' Scott Lawson says:

    OMG why is Mr Obama still freely fucking walking around while all this is going because lets face it all this is Mr Obamas creation.

  36.' Yenna Wolf says:

    true journalism.

  37.' Harold Upperman says:

    A Turkish religious extremist dictator supported by an American socialist dictator. Both need to go.

  38.' David Middlemiss says:

    This Is The Call To Stand
    Every Country, Each Citizen, Promised Peace At The End Of Each World War, at The End Of Every War,

    We Must Honour Our Promise


    Our Enlightenment Is Empowered By Pure Unadulterated Gratitude

    WE NOW Give Thanks
    Thank You Thank You Thank You

    We Are Not Of fractions

    We are Refractions Of All Light

    I Give Freely All As Merit To All And Everything Discovering Our Truths And All Beings Freely United As Ultimate Good Expanding Limitlessly

    When We remove The Word People Or Person From A
    A Homogenised Other Form seems to be produced,
    A Form which seems to be Falsely simplified,
    To The Point Where Worth seems Falsely dissolved, blames falsely attributed, Our
    Familial Connection seems to be Falsely dissolved,
    a false other on which it seems hate Or Love Can Be Pinned, without conscience,
    a being we seem to be able to separate from our GOODness Uniqueness, Difference Similarity
    This Is Our Unique Gift To Reality
    As Individually Complete Beings
    And Completely Individual Beings
    Although Supreme Being Is Simply The Removal Of the word other
    And With Knowledge Of Completion
    Without a Drop Spilled Nor A Fleck Lost
    To Be Cherished As A Father, Mother Cherishes Each Of Their Children, Yet All As


    Wonderfully un real separation doesn’t Exist

    Wonderfully Real FREE Unity Does

    Simply Insert, A Real Person, Some Background, Someone’s Loving Son, Daughter, Father, Mother, Pillar Of The Community, Scared, Caring, Beautiful Being
    Before our judgement and You Are Awake Here Now In The Moment

    we weigh lightly our wrong
    We Weigh Heavily Our GOOD For Each Life Gives To All Others,
    Non Judgement Allows That Occurrence To Co Create, Peace Limitlessly

    Unlimited Our Gratitude, Unlimited Our LOVE
    Remember Nothing Belongs To Anyone But To All Life Simultaneously and Can Only Be Held By Giving It And Receiving It With The Gratitude Of Accumulative Complete Expansion Of Everything,

    Terror is a False Fear Of Seperation, That When Our Memory Is At Peace
    Reminds Us That We Are Sustained By The Same Air, Walk The Same Earth, Are Warmed By the Same Stars, Are Protectors Of The Same Precious Jewel, As One And The Same Communiverse

    Thank You Thank You Thank You

  39.' Oren Hertz says:


  40.' Thomas Chenhall says:

    The truth doesn’t matter so fracking much that human beings should risk death to uncover it.

    Life is worth more than knowledge.

  41.' Ramanujam Raghavachari says:

    The best journalist will always very poor – unpopular – and always live in a threat for his life

  42.' Lucie Benoni says:


  43.' Christie Gil says:

    I read, “exploding Turkey.”

  44.' Pu Vashum says:

    Yuimi Vashum

  45.' Kelvin Lee says:


  46.' Adames Ebra says:

    It looks like Russian propaganda too me

  47.' Peculiar Osita Michael says:

    Sometimes just one person trying to do the right thing can change the course of history but usually, a life must be jeopardized.
    Truth once exposed, has the capacity to expose the life of the exposer.

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