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Police seize passports of journalists Yıldırım, Başlangıç

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The Turkish government has banned journalists Ayşe Yıldırım and Celal Başlangıç from travelling abroad after seizing their passports at an İstanbul airport on Monday.

“We were taken to the police station at the İstanbul airport. We are waiting for notification that our passports have been canceled. They asked us to sign a document saying that our passports were lost,” said Yıldırım, a columnist for the Cumhuriyet daily, on Twitter.

Yıldırım and her husband Başlangıç were at the airport to fly to Brussels today.

There is no investigation concerning Yıldırım, but her husband Celal Başlangıç was in court on Tuesday as part of an investigation into 37 journalists who became editors-in-chief on duty for the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, which was closed temporarily by court order in August for allegedly having links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is waging a war against the state, and spreading “terrorist propaganda” on their behalf.

The Turkish government prohibited the wife of former Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet daily Can Dündar from travelling abroad after seizing her passport at an İstanbul airport on Sept. 3.

The Turkish government turned the media crackdown to an all-out war against critical media and journalists following a July 15 coup attempt.

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 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 BYEGM to travel abroad under emergency rule.

The Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) stated on Monday that the number of journalists in Turkey who have lost their jobs since the July 15 attempted coup has reached 3,000, bringing the total number of unemployed media personnel to above 10,000.

More than 120 journalists are behind the bars in Turkey, P24 reports.

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