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A state of emergency in Turkey; A continuation of the repression against journalists: Erdogan’s punishing and “witch hunt” knows no boundaries.

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In the failed military coup attempt in Turkey at least 208 people lost their lives and more than 1400 were injured. A state of emergency, which will last for three months, was declared; in a short time, unprecedented purges followed in all segments of society. The crackdown with journalists and the media that talk about the situation in Turkey in a critical way, continued of course, so almost every day there is news on the new violation of media freedoms in Turkey. Two weeks after the coup attempt in the country is faced with a wave of arrests of journalists and at least 131 media outlets have been shut down.

Shortly after the Turkish authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of 42 journalists on July 25 this year, an arrest of 47 more was ordered as part of a wider crackdown with the supporters of the Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen, accused of being the one behind the failed coup, Reuters reported. “The punishments regard editors and columnists of the newspaper Zaman (which currently doesn’t exist), widely seen as the Gulen movement’s flagship media organisation” said an unnamed government official on Wednesday.

Photo: Arrest of journalist Büşre Erdal/Twitter

Photo: Arrest of journalist Büşre Erdal/Twitter

Critics of president Tayyip Erdogan stress that he’s using the failed coup attempt to stifle dissent and strengthen his authoritarian rule, Reuters writes.

Abdullah Ayasun, former journalist of the newspaper Zaman who is currently in Boston, said for Fairpress he is anxiously keeping track of the events in Turkey through close friends:

Many of my friends are detained. Critically inclined media outlets have completely vanished, there is no room for the voice of criticism. Erdogan’s punishing and “witch hunt” knows no boundaries. Nazli Ilicak, Sahin Alpay and many other journalists have been detained. They are prominent journalists who have spent almost half a century in this profession.

To recall, in March this year the Turkish authorities took over control of the daily newspaper Zaman, a day after the court in Istanbul issued a decision that the Zaman group be put under surveillance. Namely, the Turkish authorities consider the Zaman group, which in addition to the daily newspaper Zaman also owns the newspaper in the English language, Today’s Zaman, and the Cihan news agency, to be close with Fetullah Gulen, Erdogan’s former ally who turned into his fiercest adversary after the corruption scandal at the end of 2013.

As Reuters states, as the reason for the arrests of former journalists of Zaman, Turkish officials assert a suspicion that the journalists are likely to have intimate knowledge of the Gulen network and as such it could benefit the investigation conducted by the government. However, what doesn’t go in support of that is the fact that many of the arrested journalists don’t share the stance of the Gulen religious organisation, which only confirms the suspicions that the failed coup attempt was used for a crackdown with dissenters.

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