Turkish Minute

One-third of Turkish journalists lose jobs as gov’t tightens grip over media

Turkish police officers escort Abdulhamit Bilici (C), editor in chief of Zaman Newspaper out from Newspaper`s headquarters on March 5, 2016 in Istanbul. An Istanbul court on March 4, 2016 ordered into administration a Turkish Zaman daily newspaper that is sharply critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, amid growing alarm over freedom of expression in the country. / AFP PHOTO / SELAHATTIN SEVI

The number of journalists in Turkey who have lost their jobs since a July 15 attempted coup has reached 3,000, bringing the total number of unemployed media personnel to above 10,000.

The landmark threshold of 10,000 accounts for one-third of the total employment in Turkey’s media sector, according to the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS).

At a press conference on Monday the TGS said the number of unemployed journalists, according to official data, was already as high as 7,000 prior to the July 15 coup attempt. Already seized by the government prior to the putsch, Turkey’s once highest circulating newspaper, Zaman, is among those shut down in the aftermath of the failed coup.

Through government decrees issued following the coup attempt, around 3,000 journalists have become unemployed, TGS president Uğur Güç said.

The press meeting was attended by other media organizations as well as by representatives from 23 TV and radio stations that were closed down by the latest government decree announced on Sept. 29.

More than 180 media outlets have been shut down over alleged links to either the Gülen movement or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Turkish government holds the movement responsible for the July 15 coup attempt despite successive denials from the latter.

The Prime Ministry’s Media Press and Information General Directorate (BYEGM) had already cancelled 115 permanent press cards and 660 press cards prior to the issuance of the latest decree. Turkish media reported that journalists working for those 23 media outlets also began to receive cancellation notices from BYEGM.

Turkish journalists holding grey service passports are obliged to apply for authorization from the BYEGM to travel abroad under emergency rule. (Turkey Purge)

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