Turkey Crackdown Closes Dozens Of Newspapers

As feared, the disastrously misconceived and bungled coup attempt by a faction of the Turkish military on the night of July 14-15 is giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a tailor-made opportunity to act out his most authoritarian impulses under the pretext of protecting democracy.

Many measures that are blatantly in conflict with that very aim.

One of the most egregious of his emergency measures is the closing of 131 media outlets across the country, including 45 newspapers, 15 magazines, 23 radio stations and 16 TV channels. All have been shuttered on flimsy charges of supporting the coup, encouraging terrorism, or both.

A total of 89 journalists have been arrested or had arrest warrants issued as well.

In many cases, the targeted publications and broadcasters are associated (or allegedly associated) with Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric and erstwhile ally of Erdogan who now lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Erdogan has accuses him of orchestrating the coup.

Gülen has denied these charges and condemned the coup attempt. Virtually no media outlet in Turkey ever voiced support for the abortive military takeover. Even Erdogan’s staunchest opponents pilloried the attempt to overthrow a democratically elected leader. But this isn’t stopping Erdogan, who appears bent on using the crisis to continue his longstanding campaign to silence dissent by various means.

It’s worth noting that Turkish regulators and law-enforcement officials were already closing newspapers and jailing journalists well before the coup, undoubtedly at Erdogan’s order.

Back in March, police seized control of the country’s largest newspaper, Zaman, while unleashing water cannons and tear gas against protesters gathered outside in an attempt to stop the takeover. The government subsequently shut it down.

Last fall, Turkish police raided the offices of a major Turkish conglomerate with media properties, Koza pek Holding, including the newspaper Sözcü, whose columnists all submitted empty op-eds to protest the raid in the newspaper’s print edition.

Turkish security forces have also arrested a number of foreign journalists who were covering anti-government protests on trumped-up charges of abetting terrorism. While the foreign journalists have been released, some of their local handlers remain in custody.

1 comment about "Turkey Crackdown Closes Dozens Of Newspapers".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Mark Moran from Dulcinea Media, July 29, 2016 at 8:56 p.m.

    This is how Adolph Hitler consolidated his power. The day after a Dutch communist burned the Reichstag Building in Berlin in Feb 1933, Hitler convinced German President Paul von Hindenburg to sign an emergency decree “for the Protection of the People and the State.” The decree stripped citizens of their constitutional liberties, including free speech, rights to assembly and freedom of the press. It allowed Nazi government to arrest thousands of leaders from the Communist and Social Democratic parties and shut down their publications and meetings.

Next story loading loading..