ISTANBUL: Turkey ordered the detention of 42 journalists on Monday, broadcaster NTV reported, under a crackdown following a failed coup that has targeted more than 60,000 people, drawing fire from the European Union.
The arrests or suspensions of soldiers, police, judges and civil servants in response to the July 15-16 putsch have raised concerns among rights groups and Western countries, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is capitalising on it to tighten his grip on power.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker questioned Ankara’s long-standing aspiration to join the EU.
“I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period,” Juncker said on French television France 2.
NTV reported that among the 42 journalists subject to arrest warrants was well-known commentator and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak.
Seven soldiers from a group which attacked a hotel in the coastal town of Marmaris where Erdogan had been staying, in an apparent attempt to capture or kill him during the coup bid, were detained at a police checkpoint on Monday.
Turkish Airlines fires 211
Turkish Airlines said on Monday it had fired 211 employees over suspected links to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and behaviour “conflicting with the interest of our country” in the wake of last week’s coup. The flag carrier said their contracts were terminated due to “the non-fulfillment of performance criteria and in line with the necessary actions we are taking against the FETO structure, attitudes and behaviour conflicting with the interest of our country and company”.
The authorities accuse 75-year-old Gulen of running a group it labels the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) that was behind the coup, and Ankara has demanded that Washington extradite him. -Agencies
THE PASHTUN TIMES