Detention orders issued for 35 media workers, journalists in Turkey

An Istanbul prosecutor issued detention orders for 35 media workers, including journalists, the Dogan news agency reported Tuesday, saying that the accused have links to the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The government blames the US-based, Turkish born Gulen of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt, charges he denies. Gulen was a one-time ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but the two fell out in recent years.

A massive crackdown in Turkey since the coup has seen some 80,000 government employees suspended. More than 40,000 people have been detained, while about 20,000 have been formally arraigned and arrested.

Critics say the suspensions and detentions have turned into a dragnet catching up people who were not part of the coup attempt.

The pro-Kurdish Ozgur Gun news channel, meanwhile, said it was taken off the air in Turkey, though it continues to operate in the country and broadcasts online.

There was no official notice from Turkey's broadcasting authority about the channel, which is based in Diyarbakir, a mostly-Kurdish city in south-eastern Turkey, but the station says it was removed from the Turksat satellite broadcasting system.

The move follows raids on Sunday against the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, also based in Diyarbakir. Some two dozen employees were reportedly detained, including journalists.

This month, a Turkish court shut the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, also a pro-Kurdish daily, arresting several people. Novelist and columnist Asli Erdogan remains in pre-trial detention.

Pen International, a freedom of speech group, has sharply criticized Erdogan's detention and launched a campaign for her release.

Turkey has stepped up arrests of reporters since the failed coup in July.

According to the European Federation of Journalists, 96 journalists are currently jailed in Turkey, though this number does not include the latest waves of detentions this week.

Dogan reported that 18 of the 35 media workers for whom fresh orders were issued are outside the country. So far, nine have been detained.

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