Amnesty International has slammed as “disturbing” Turkey’s ongoing crackdown on media freedom in the wake of the failed coup of July 15.
The Britain-based human rights group said in a report that Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 89 journalists, adding that more than 40 have already been arrested while several others are in hiding.
The report said 131 media outlets have been shut down since a second emergency decree passed on July 27.
Turkey issued the first state of emergency decree on July 23, in which the pre-charge detention period has been extended to 30 days.
“Rounding up journalists and shutting down media houses is the latest assault on a media already weakened by years of government repression. The passing of this second emergency decree leaves little room for doubt that the authorities are intent on silencing criticism without regard to international law,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s deputy Europe director.
“Even under a state of emergency, restrictions must be necessary, proportionate and for a legitimate purpose. The provisions of the two emergency decrees passed this week fail all three of these tests and fly in the face of the government’s claim that they are upholding rights and the rule of law.”
Amnesty had earlier revealed “credible evidence” that inmates detained following the coup attempt have been subjected to torture and abuse.
The rights organization also urged Ankara to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses during the abortive coup.
“The authorities must bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses during the coup attempt. But this must be done in a manner that respects the right to fair trial, the prohibition of torture and other human rights. The intensified crackdown on freedom of the press does not serve this purpose and is unlawful,” Filippou stated.
The Amnesty official also called on Turkish authorities "to end ill-treatment and torture of those being detained and allow international monitors to visit all detainees in the places they are being held."
The putsch began overnight on July 15, when rebel soldiers declared they were in control of the country and the Ankara administration was no more in charge. Tanks, helicopters and soldiers then clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital and Istanbul.
The deadly coup was gradually suppressed by military forces and people loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.