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Turkey orders arrest of more journalists in post-coup crackdown

A photo taken on March 6, 2016 shows the front page of the first new edition of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman — which had staunchly opposed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — with articles supporting the government since its seizure by authorities. (Photo by AFP)

Authorities in Turkey have issued arrest warrants for another 47 journalists suspected of having been linked to a recent failed coup in the country.

The warrants were on Tuesday issued against “executives and some staff, including columnists of Zaman newspaper,” Reuters reported, citing an unnamed official.

Back in March, Turkish authorities seized control of Zaman and Today’s Zaman newspapers as well as the Cihan News Agency, all part of the Feza Media Group.

Feza Media is said to have close connections with Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric and an outspoken opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his policies whom authorities accuse of having been behind the July 25 putsch.

On Monday, Turkish authorities had ordered the arrest of 42 journalists over similar suspicions.

The botched coup began by a faction of the Turkish military during which tanks, helicopters, and soldiers clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital Ankara and Istanbul.

A total of 290 people were killed in the attempted coup d’état. More than 13,000 people have been detained ever since.

The Turkish official called Zaman “the Gulen movement’s flagship media organization.”

“The prosecutors aren’t interested in what individual columnists wrote or said. At this point, the reasoning is that prominent employees of Zaman are likely to have intimate knowledge of the Gulen network and as such could benefit the investigation.”

Meanwhile, the Turkish military said 8,651 soldiers took part in the failed attempt to overthrow the government, accounting for about 1.5 percent of the army. 

In a statement carried by Turkey's NTV television, the military said the soldiers belonged to a "terrorist" network led by Gulen.

The armed forces said 35 planes, including 24 fighter jets and 37 helicopters, were used in the coup attempt. It said 37 tanks and 246 armored vehicles were also used in the bid.


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