Turkey issues warrant for 47 more journalists

Jul 27, 2016, 7:42 AM EDT
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
(Source: AMISOM Public Information/flickr)

The Turkish government ordered detention of another 47 journalists as part of a major crackdown on supporters of U.S.-backed Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating a failed military coup earlier this month. The latest action covers former executives or senior journalists of the Zaman newspaper, the Gulen movement’s flagship media organization.

A government official said that the latest arrest orders are based on the reasoning that intimate knowledge of the Gulen movement can be extracted from prominent employees of Zaman, notes Reuters. Critics have slammed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for using the failed coup attempt as an excuse to quell dissent and tighten his grip on power.

Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania in voluntary exile since 1999, wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times that the U.S. must resist the temptation to extradite him to Turkey, where he has virtually no prospects for a fair trial, reports The Guardian. Gulen described Erdogan as an “autocrat,” who is leading a “slow-motion” coup against Turkey’s constitutional government.

Last week, Turkey suspended Gulen’s social security rights in addition to cutting his modest state pension. On Monday, Turkey issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists, out of which 16 have been detained for questioning.