70 radio, TV channels silenced under state of emergency – watchdog

ANKARA - Turkey’s state broadcasting watchdog said 33 television channels and 37 radio stations belonging to 54 different media companies had been shut down under state of emergency powers introduced five days after the July 15, 2016 failed coup.

High Commission of Radio and Television president İlhan Yerlikaya said the the channels “were branches of, had relationships with, or supported structures, formations or groups identified as posing a national security threat or terrorist organisations.”

The government says the emergency powers are necessary to combat the threats of followers of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, Islamic State and Kurdish separatists.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, at a recent meeting with Turkish Union of Journalists representatives, called the introduction of a state of emergency “the July 20 civilian coup”.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the media had not even experienced this many problems in the aftermath of previous successful military coups, adding that there were three main ways in which the government was seeking to punish journalism it disliked.

“First, the journalists are being punished; second, the media owners are being threatened; and finally, heavy punishments are being given to newspapers by way of financial audits,” he said.