Turkey's president Erdogan orders closure of 131 media organisations as crackdown intensifies

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Picture: Reuters/Umit Bektas

More than one hundred media organisations have been ordered to close in Turkey as the backlash after the failed attempt to overthrow its president intensifies.

The state-owned Resmi Gazete has announced 45 newspapers, 29 publishing houses, 23 radio stations, 16 TV channels, 15 magazines and three news agencies are to close, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

This comes after Turkish authorities issued a total of 89 detention warrants for journalists this week, including 47 editorial staff at the Zaman newspaper, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued to target those suspected of involvement in the coup attempt on 16 July.

The IFJ is calling on the European Union to take steps to hold Turkish president Erdogan accountable for press freedom breaches as he continues a purge that has targeted 60,000 people and seen him crackdown on the country’s media.

On Wednesday the group denounced what it said was the “deterioration of democratic rule, of which press freedom is one of the pillars” in the country.

The Turkish government has claimed US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the attempt to topple President Erdoğan.

As a result, 300 staff at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation have been suspended as part of an investigation into the Fetullah organisation (FETO), named as a terrorist group by authorities.

Earlier this week, the government also banned publication of a special edition of satirical magazine LeMan and 60 editorial staff were fired from the Cihan news agency by court-appointed trustees.

Turkey has declared a three-month state of emergency meaning authorities can hold suspects in detention without charge for up to 30 days without a court order.

The nation ranked 151 out of 180 in media watchdog Reporters Without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Picture: Reuters.

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