New gov’t decree authorizes RTÜK to transfer licenses of shuttered media outlets

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According to a government decree issued on Thursday, Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), will be able to transfer the broadcasting licenses, broadcasting rights and channel utilization of media outlets that have been shut down, especially during a state of emergency declared following a failed coup in July of last year.

The new decree, numbered 687 and published in the Official Gazette on Thursday, also said that revenue derived from the sale and transfer of assets of companies seized by the government during the state of emergency will be transferred to the Treasury.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, a global civil society movement inspired by the views of the US-based Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup.

The government, under emergency decrees, decided to take over hundreds companies, seized the assets of businessmen and shut down institutions, including media outlets, linked to the movement.

According to a tally by Turkeypurge.com, 149 media outlets have been shut down by government decrees and 162 journalists arrested since July 15, 2016.

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