Turkish gov’t selling properties of 9 media outlets including Yeni Hayat, Meydan, Yarına Bakış dailies

Properties belonging to nine of the media outlets that the Turkish government seized under post-coup emergency rule have been put up for sale by the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).

In a statement on Tuesday TMSF listed properties belonging to TV 10 and IMC TV stations, and Meydan, Yarına Bakış, Yeni Hayat, Manşet, Demokrat Gebze and Bizim Kocaeli newspapers along with Radyo Nur radio station to be sold at auction. Meydan, Yarına Bakış, Yeni Hayat dailies were affiliated by the Gülen movement. Yarına Bakış and Yeni Hayat dailies were established by jobless journalists who were dismissed their own newspaper by government appointed trustees after the forceful seizure of Zaman daily by the government on March 4, 2016.

Nearly 1,000 companies with a total value of $12 billion in assets have been seized and then transferred to the TMSF since the coup attempt. The companies in question were mostly targeted as part of a sweeping state crackdown against the Gülen movement. Among the seized companies are more than 187 media outlets, most of which used to have critical editorial policies toward the government.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 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 movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.

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

Fethullah 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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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