Turkish Singer, Journalists on Trial Over Failed Coup
Turkish pop star Atilla Tas and 28 others, most of them journalists, are being tried in Istanbul on terrorism charges over alleged links to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed for last year's failed coup attempt in Turkey.
They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of membership in "an armed terrorist organization,'' in a massive government crackdown that has seen more than 100 media outlets closed and more than 41,000 people arrested since July.
Turkish state media said Tas and several others are charged with managing a Twitter account that spread propaganda on behalf of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of masterminding the coup attempt. Gulen has denied any knowledge of the plot.
Human rights groups say Turkey has jailed about 150 journalists, many of whom were arrested before the botched insurrection, for alleged ties to Kurdish rebels who are fighting the Turkish state. The Reporters without Borders group ranked Turkey at 151st out of 180 countries on its press freedom index last year.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists the crackdown was essential for the stability of the country. But critics say the detentions show Turkey is becoming more authoritarian under the Islamist leader.
This trial is being closely watched in Turkey, which holds a referendum on April 16 on whether to expand the powers of the presidency.
Trump Son-in-Law to Lead New White House 'Office of American Innovation'
U.S. President Donald Trump is putting his son-in-law in charge of an effort to make the federal government run more like an efficient business.
Jared Kushner, a second-generation real estate investor who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is to lead the new White House Office of American Innovation.
At Monday's daily White House briefing, the press secretary brushed off questions about whether the 36-year-old Kushner, a newcomer to government, is qualified to lead the transformation.
Other weighty matters already are assigned to Kushner, including the Middle East peace process and being his father-in-law’s lead advisor on countries such as China and Mexico.
The office is to be staffed with former business executives operating out of the West Wing, according to White House officials.
Two White House senior aides are set to be the office’s key personnel -- a former Microsoft and General Motors executive, Chris Liddell, and real estate developer Reed Cordish, whose family is close to the Trumps.
Also on the team are National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who is a former Goldman Sachs executive, and Dina Habib Powell, recently named as deputy national security advisor. She is also a senior counselor to the president.
The Obama White House launched a similar, but more narrowly-focused, initiative in 2008.