Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Welat and Halkın Sesi newspapers and Avantaj TV shuttered through emergency decree

 

Three newspapers, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Halkın Sesi and Diyarbakır-based Welat, and Avantaj TV television station were closed down with an emergency decree published in the Official Gazette on 8 July.

The statutory decree no. 701, issued under the State of Emergency (OHAL), also ordered the closure of 12 associations.

According to the decree, the media outlets and the associations were shuttered due to “their links and associations with terrorist organizations or structures, formations or groups that have been determined by the National Security Council to be operating against the national security of the state.”

Under the decree, all assets, rights and documents of and the debt owed to the shuttered media institutions and the associations were transferred to the Treasury. No demand or claim shall be made to the Treasury in relation to debts of the shuttered media outlets and associations.

In March 2018, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi headquarters was raided by the police and the newspaper’s entire operation was taken over by authorities. In addition to the newspaper, Gün Matbaacılık, the printing house that published both Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Welat, was also seized.

14 employees of Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, including Managing Editor İshak Yasul, are charged with “membership of a terrorist organization”, “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “publishing statements of terrorist organizations.” Six of the 14 journalists are currently in pre-trial detention.

More than 190 media outlets have been closed down through emergency decrees since the declaration of the State of Emergency in July 2016. A full list can be accessed here.