Asia-Pacific

Turkey closes Kurdish media outlets

New decrees issued under a state of emergency in Turkey have been extended to close down 15 media outlets.

Turkey has closed down 15 media outlets, including key Kurdish news agencies, and fired some 10,000 civil servants and members of the security forces, in two new decrees issued under a state of emergency.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday the wide-ranging decrees also extend to a large number of affairs, including restrictions on lawyers being able to privately meet with their clients and restructuring the appointment of university rectors to bring the process more under the government's control.

The emergency laws have been in effect since a failed coup attempt in July and grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration sweeping powers. The extent crackdown in the wake of the coup has been criticised by UN bodies and Western governments.

Turkey has dismissed tens of thousands of state employees and also arrested some 35,000 people since the coup, which was carried out by a faction in the military.

Erdogan blames the putsch on his one-time ally, US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who denies the charges.

The crackdown has also targeted the Kurdish minority, which makes up some 15 per cent of the country, who have seen most of their key media institutions closed, from news outlets to culture magazines and children's television.

The moves have left the mostly Kurdish south-east of the country, where there is an ongoing conflict with militants, without much independent media.

Erdogan has been in power, first as prime minister and now as president, since 2003, amid accusations he is growing increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of opposition.

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