ISTANBUL — Turkey’s government has ordered the closure of dozens of media outlets – including news agencies, television channels, radio stations and newspapers – as part of its widespread crackdown in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Authorities have suspended thousands of people working in the country’s judicial, education, health and financial sectors. But the move against media outlets escalated a campaign against journalists in a country that had once been hailed as a model of democracy in the region.

Nearly 90 reporters and columnists have been ordered detained this week, a decision the rights group Amnesty International called a “brazen attack on press freedom.”

The decree from Turkey’s Cabinet of ministers to close the outlets was published late Wednesday in the country’s Official Gazette. A state of emergency enacted after the coup attempt allows Turkey’s executive to issue decrees, which are then sent to parliament for approval.

Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors issued detention orders for nearly 50 journalists and media figures tied to the Zaman newspaper, which was shut down at the request of local prosecutors in March. Forty-two journalists and columnists from various media outlets were also ordered detained Monday.

Zaman, which had been Turkey’s largest daily, was believed to be tied to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The president and his supporters have accused Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, of orchestrating the coup, which saw more than 200 people killed.


Turkey has said it will formally ask the United States to extradite Gulen, who has denied involvement.

The government survived the violent putsch attempt but has since launched a devastating purge of Turkey’s security institutions and bureaucracy.

The decree Wednesday targeted three news agencies, 16 television channels, 23 radio stations and 45 newspapers.

Turkey also discharged more than 2,400 military personnel for “complicity in the attempted coup,” a senior official said.

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