Post-coup crackdown in Turkey takes aim at the media

by WorldTribune Staff, July 28, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has become a regime and is now cracking down in particular on the media, closing more television and radio stations and newspapers.

Thus far, the Ankara government has shut down three news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers.

The closure of several media outlets was ordered soon after the failed coup on July 15. /AFP
The closure of several media outlets was ordered soon after the failed coup on July 15. /AFP

Zaman, once one of Turkey’s biggest newspapers, was shuttered. It had been put under state control in March. Arrest warrants have been issued for 47 of its staff.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders condemned Turkey’s purges of journalists, saying they have assumed “increasingly alarming proportions.”

“We regret having to reiterate that criticizing the government and working for media outlets that support the (Fethullah) Gulen Movement do not constitute evidence of involvement in the failed coup,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “If the authorities cannot produce more credible evidence, they are guilty of persecuting people for their opinions and that is unacceptable.”

The government also formally discharged around 1,700 officers from the military and brought the Turkish Coast Guard under the control of the Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Justice Ministry denied an Amnesty International report alleging some of those detained in the wake of the failed coup were tortured. “Proper arrest and custody procedures were being applied under a three-month state of emergency announced last week,” the department said, according to the Associated Press.