Kurdish Bas weekly paper stops print edition in Turkey due to increasing suppression

A Kurdish news outlet has decided on Monday to stop publishing its weekly printed edition in the country due to recently increased tensions between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkey. According to a report by online news outlet Kurdistan24, Bas news agency printed its last issue on Monday in İstanbul.

Botan Tahseen, the head of the Bas news agency’s administrative council, said that the printed edition, which had been run for several years, was stopped and by adding that the situation in Turkey has drastically changed since Bas News first launched its operations in İstanbul. At the time “relations between Ankara and Erbil were strong in every field,” he said.

“The general political atmosphere in the region shifted from bad to worse, and the deterioration of relations between Ankara and Erbil have made it impossible for the Bas Weekly Paper to continue publishing,” he noted, adding that they had increasingly faced pressures and obstacles running their publication in Turkey.

Bas Media will continue to publish on its website, which covers events and news on the Kurds in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Kurdish areas of Turkey, also known as Bakur, according to the report.

The High Commission of Radio and Television (RTÜK), Turkey’s state regulatory body of visual media, had shut down the transmission of three Kurdistan Region-based news channels from the national satellite provider Turksat, among them Kurdistan 24, Rudaw and Waar TV the same day the people of the Kurdistan Region headed to the polls in a referendum on independence from Iraq.

A December 2016 report by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye described the crackdown as “the government decimation of Kurdish media.”

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 256 journalists and media workers are in jails as of November 21, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 230 are arrested pending trial, only 26 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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.

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