DEVELOPING: Turkey’s government has decided to close down dozens of media outlets, including 45 newspapers and 16 television stations in the wake of a failed military coup, the country’s state-run news agency reported Wednesday.
CNN Turk reported that 130 media organizations had been shuttered in a widening crackdown by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. The list also inlcuded 23 radio stations, three news agencies and 15 magazines. Many of those targeted were regional media outlets as well as several organizations that had already been seized by the state over alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric accused of being behind the failed uprising.
The state-run Anadolu Agency also reported that close to 1,700 military officers have been formally discharged.
In all, nearly 16,000 people have been detained for questioning over suspected links to the coup attempt, and about half have been arrested to face trial, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the Ankara government issued detention warrants for 47 former executives or senior journalists of Turkey’s Zaman newspaper for alleged links to Gulen, who denies any involvement in the coup attempt. Such detentions have raised concerns that people could be targeted simply for criticizing the government.
The failed uprising by a faction within the military led to some 290 deaths on July 15.
The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders condemned Turkey’s purges of journalists, saying they have assumed “increasingly alarming proportions.”
“Criticizing the government and working for media outlets that support the Gulen Movement do not constitute evidence of involvement in the failed coup,” said Johann Bihr, who heads the organization’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry denied an Amnesty International report alleging that some of those detained were tortured. Correct arrest and custody procedures were being applied under a three-month state of emergency announced last week, it said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.