(Istanbul) – The detention of journalists from independent newspaper Cumhuriyet, the closure of the remaining Kurdish media, and the jailing of elected mayors in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir in the space of two days is evidence of the deepening crackdown in Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today.
On the morning of October 31, 2016, police detained Murat Sabuncu, the editor of the independent Cumhuriyet daily newspaper and, during the course of the day, 11 more of its journalists and managers. There are warrants out for the arrest of at least three more, including former editor Can Dündar. The Istanbul prosecutor alleges that the newspaper has “committed crimes on behalf of” both the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and what the government refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen.
“Targeting one of Turkey’s last independent opposition newspapers with ludicrous charges shows the depths of the Turkish government and president’s crackdown,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch. “Over 160 media outlets have been closed down since the failed coup, and there are few critical voices that have not been ruthlessly silenced.”