Bugün TV sold by Turkish gov’t to a ‘triggerman’ convicted of plundering, murder

The satellite and cable broadcasting licenses of Bugün TV, which used to be owned by İpek Media Group that was allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement, were sold to a person who was punished for looting and sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime of murder.

Bugün TV was first assigned a trustee and then shut down by the Turkish government after a controversial July 15, 2016, and its all properties and equipments had been seized by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).

According to Oda TV news, Burhanettin Türkeş, owner of Sancaktar Media, who bought the tv channel, has announced that he would broadcast in line with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s domestic and national media targets, had come to the public agenda with the murder of businessman Nesim Malki.

In its verdict, the Bursa 2nd High Criminal Court decided that Türkeş was the triggerman of Malki’s murder and issued a sentence of 11 years, 4 months and 3 days of imprisonment for the crime of plunder and murder. The decision of the court was approved by the Court of Cassation.

İhlas news agency reported on 22 June 2011 that Burhanettin Türkeş and Mücahit Çakal were arrested and sent to prison for life imprisonment in the scope of Nesim Malki’s murder case in Bursa.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 259 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of October 17, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 235 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 133 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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