The election may be over, but the pressure is still on for Turkish opposition circles.
Police in the western province of Izmir have arrested some 44 people – among them high-ranking officials – in an operation targeting supporters of an opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Dogan news agency reports dawn raids were carried out on known addresses of followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Last week, Turkish authorities took over management of newspapers, television stations and other businesses linked to Gulen.
At least 58 journalists have since been fired and trustees assigned to manage Gulen’s Ipek media group.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan rejected comments against the operations, claiming justice was fighting against the media’s “violations of the law.”
However the seemingly growing authoritarianism in Turkey has provoked international criticism.
Ignacio Sanchez Amor, the OSCE’s Special Coordinator told a press conference:
“The media is clearly under serious pressure in this country. Criminal investigations of journalists and media outlets for (the) support of terrorism and defamation of the president has had a chilling effect on the media.”
Violence flares up
Heightened tensions turned to violence in the south-eastern town Diyarbakir. One man was killed in clashes between Turkish security forces and PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party militants.
Erdogan, who founded the governing AK Party, has vowed to continue the 31-year fight against the PKK.
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