Journalists held in Turkish coup crackdown

Turkish authorities have issued warrants for the detention of 42 journalists and detained 31 academics, official media reported, as the government proceeded with a crackdown against people allegedly linked to a US-based Muslim cleric following a failed coup.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the list of journalists wanted for questioning included prominent writer Nazli Ilicak, who is critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Ilicak has opposed the government clampdown on a movement led by Fethullah Gulen, the cleric accused by Turkey of directing the July 15 coup attempt.

Mr Gulen has denied any involvement in the failed insurrection that left about 290 people dead and was put down by loyalist forces and pro-government protesters.

So far, five journalists have been detained for questioning, Anadolu reported.

Prosecutors requested their detention to shed light on the coup plot and the warrants are not related to their “journalistic activities, but possible criminal conduct,” a senior official in Erdogan’s office said.

The list of wanted journalists, according to the pro-government Sabah newspaper, also includes news editor Erkan Acar of the Ozgur Dusunce newspaper and news show host Erkan Akkus of the Can Erzincan TV station.

Both media organisations are off-shoots of Bugun newspaper and Bugun TV, which were taken over by the government in an October 2015 police raid.

Another journalist wanted by authorities is Hanim Busra Erdal, a former columnist and legal reporter for the daily Zaman newspaper, which was taken over by authorities in March for its links to Gulen’s movement.

The 31 academics, including a number of professors, were detained for questioning in Istanbul and four other provinces, Anadolu reported. Security officials also conducted a raid against the military’s Istanbul-based War Academy, detaining 40 people.

The government declared a three-month state of emergency and detained more than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions following the foiled coup. Those rounded up include nearly 9,000 soldiers, 2,100 judges and prosecutors and 1,485 police.

In addition, tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs, suspected of possible ties to the coup plotters

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