Turkey Turns Ever-Growing Purge Against Press, Over 100 Outlets Shut

Arrest Warrants Issued for Ex-Employees of Paper Which Was Nationalized Back in March

by Jason Ditz, July 27, 2016

With officials continuing to assure the world that coup plotters had infiltrated anything and everything in Turkey, the post-coup purge seems able to target any given industry at any moment. One day, the government is rounding up disloyal generals, and the next it’s firing the dean of every university in the country. Today, it’s the news media’s turn.

Officials are reporting that over 100 media outlets have been closed over ties to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, including 45 daily newspapers and 16 television stations. Incredibly, among the newspapers ordered closed was Zaman, which was nationalized for Gulen ties way back in March.

Turkish officials seem insistent that the old Zaman’s influence extended to a coup that happened four months after they were closed, with arrest warrants issued for 47 former employees. That they closed the new Zaman, which they already run, and which has been slavishly loyal to Erdogan, is just bizarre, and reflects growing paranoia about any perceived dissent.

The Erdogan government has long been ruthless in cracking down on critical media at any rate, arresting reporters as “terrorists” for unflattering stories, particularly those critical of government offensives against the ethnic Kurdish minority. That crackdown never really stopped, but the coup has justified an even further acceleration.

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