Turkey closes 15 media outlets, raids newspaper office, detains at least 12

October 31, 2016 1:48 PM ET

Supporters of Cumhuriyet newspaper protest a police raid of the daily's Istanbul's office, October 31, 2016. The signs read, "Free media cannot be silenced" (center), and "Don't bow down" (rear). (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

New York, October 31, 2016 -- The Turkish government should immediately reverse an emergency decree closing at least 15 news agencies, newspapers, and magazines and should immediately release all journalists imprisoned on bogus charges for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Police today raided the Istanbul office of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet and detained at least 12 journalists and directors of the embattled daily on terrorism charges, according to the newspaper and a statement from the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office. The government on October 29 used emergency powers it assumed after July's failed military coup to order 15 news agencies, newspapers, and magazines closed by decree. The order included the pro-Kurdish Dicle (DİHA) and Jin (JİNHA) news agencies, the newspapers Özgür Gündem and Azadiya Welat, and 11 more newspapers and magazines--effectively eviscerating media aimed at Turkey's ethnic Kurdish minority.

"This is a dark day for the media in Turkey," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "The Turkish government is trying to eradicate every alternative source of information and opinion by labeling anyone who challenges it a terrorist. We call on the government to immediately release Cumhuriyet staff, directors, and all journalists jailed on trumped-up charges and to reverse all its orders silencing Turkey's independent media."

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