Turkey Shutters Over 100 Media Outlets, Dismisses 1,600 Military Personnel

Turkish President Erdogan pursues crackdown in the wake of a failed coup, with three news agencies, 16 television channels and 45 daily newspapers ordered to shut down. Roughly 40 percent of generals and admirals dismissed.

People hold placards with a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a rally at Kizilay Square, Ankara, Turkey, July 20, 2016.
Dimitar Dilkoff, AFP

REUTERS - Turkish authorities on Wednesday announced the dismissal of more than 1,700 military personnel and the closure of more than 100 media outlets, official sources said Wednesday, in a widening crackdown following this month's failed coup attempt.

A total of 1,684 military personnel have been dishonorably discharged, a Turkish government official said, citing their role in the July 15-16 abortive putsch, where a faction of the military attempted to topple the government. In addition, three news agencies, 16 television channels, 45 daily newspapers, 15 journals and 23 radio stations have been ordered to be shut down, it said. 

Among the newspapers ordered to shut down is the Zaman newspaper, Turkey's largest-circulated media outlet, which was seized by the government and reopened under the charge of government-appointed trustees in March. 

Of the military personnel whose discharge was announced on Wednesday, 149 were generals and admirals, the government official said. That would represent roughly 40 percent of all Turkish generals and admirals, military data show. 

These moves, which follow the closure of other media outlets with suspected Gulenist ties, will further stoke concerns among rights groups and Western governments about the scale of Erdogan's post-coup purges. 

The United States said on Wednesday it understood Turkey's need to hold perpetrators of the attempted coup to account but said the detention of more journalists was part of a "worrisome trend". 

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey ordered another 47 journalists detained as part of the crackdown on Gulen's supporters. 

However, the names include known leftists who do not share the Gulenists' religious outlook, increasing concerns that the crackdown may be indiscriminately sweeping up people simply because they are critical of Erdogan and his government.