Arrest warrants issued for journalists after failed Turkey coup

ANKARA, Turkey, July 25 (UPI) — Turkish authorities have issued warrants for the arrest of 42 journalists following the failed military coup on July 15.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to eliminate the “virus that has enveloped the state.”

Several media outlets have been ordered closed and 14 journalists have been arrested so far, according to the Dogan News Agency. Eleven of the journalists for whom warrants have been issued have left the country, eight after the coup attempt and three before, the agency said.

Among those accused are 72-year-old Nazli Ilicak, a prominent commentator fired from the pro-government newspaper Sabah three years ago after she criticized government ministers being investigated for corruption.

Authorities searched for Ilicak in the southern province but weren’t able to find her in her house or yacht.

Bulent Mumay, the Hurriyet digital media coordinator, was also among the journalists for whom an arrest warrant was issued.

“The only organization that I’m a member of is [the] Turkish Journalists Association. My only profession is journalism,” Mumay wrote on his Twitter account.

Erdogan’s government has arrested thousands of soldiers, judges, government officials, school teachers and university leaders since July 15.

Amnesty International says it has received credible evidence that detainees are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape.

Last week, Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency that allows the government to bypass parliament to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

The International Press Institute “expressed alarm” at the warrants.

“Given recent developments, we fear that this is only the first wave of arrests targeting journalists in a crackdown that increasingly resembles a witch hunt,” IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said in a statement.

“We urge Turkey’s international partners not to turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses being carried out in the name of upholding democracy. To do so invites a degree of authoritarianism and impunity that will only destabilize the region even further,” the statement also read.

Also Monday, European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that negotiations for Turkey’s membership into the EU would be suspended if Turkey proceeds with a proposal to reintroduce the death penalty.

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