Turkish court imposes broadcast ban on fatal explosion at military base

A Turkish court has imposed a broadcast ban on an explosion on Friday at a military base in southeastern Turkey.

Twenty-five Turkish soldiers were injured and seven are missing after an explosion of defective ammunition at a base in southeastern Turkey’s Hakkari province, the Defense Ministry said Friday.

Seven Turkish soldiers were killed and 25 were wounded in the explosion in Hakkari, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday.

“We have seven martyrs and 25 wounded soldiers due to the explosion,” Erdoğan said ahead of his departure for France to participate in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Officials are inspecting the site, he said.

The Defense Ministry had said on Friday that 25 soldiers were wounded in the incident while firing heavy ammunition. The incident took place in the Şemdinli district near the border with Iran. A statement by the Defense Ministry said that based on initial information, the explosion occurred during artillery practice at the Süngü Tepe Base.

The 25 injured soldiers were quickly evacuated to a hospital and treatment began immediately. Efforts continue to locate the seven missing soldiers, the ministry said.

An investigation into the incident has been launched, the statement added. Meanwhile, a Turkish court imposed a broadcast ban on the incident to prevent “misinformation.”

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 239 journalists and media workers were in jail as of October 31, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 170 were under arrest pending trial while only 69 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 148 journalists who are living 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 some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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