Turkey coup attempt: 'Arrest warrants issued' for journalists

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People read newspapers in Turkey. File photoImage source, AFP
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Turkey has been criticised for restricting press freedoms in the country - a charge Ankara denies

Turkey's authorities have issued detention warrants for 42 journalists, local media say, as part of an inquiry into the failed coup on 15 July.

Prominent commentator Nazli Ilicak is said to be on the list. Ankara has not publicly commented on the claim.

The authorities have already detained or placed under investigation thousands of soldiers, judges and civil servants.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge state bodies of the "virus" he says caused the revolt.

So far, five journalists have been detained for questioning, Turkish news agencies report.

The closure of several media outlets was ordered in the days following the attempted coup, but this is the first time that individual journalists have been identified, the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Istanbul reports.

The most prominent of the 42 is 72-year-old Nazli Ilicak.

She was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily three years ago for criticising government ministers who are under investigation for alleged corruption.

The Turkish government accuses cleric Fethullah Gulen of being behind the attempted coup which was led by the army.

Mr Gulen, who lives in the US, has strongly denied any involvement.

In other developments on Monday:

  • Turkey's state-run Turkish Airlines dismisses 211 employees over their alleged links to the Gulen movement
  • EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warns that negotiations for Turkey's eventual membership of the EU would be suspended immediately if Ankara goes ahead with a proposal to reintroduce the death penalty

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took part in a pro-democracy rally in Istanbul, condemning the coup attempt.

The demonstration was organised by the opposition party CHP but was backed by President Erdogan's AK party, in a rare show of unity.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Istanbul's central Taksim Square was transformed into a sea of flags in a "democracy festival" on Sunday

Mr Erdogan launched a widespread crackdown following the failed coup, arresting thousands of service personnel and sacking or suspending thousands of judges, government officials, school teachers and university heads.

Human Rights group Amnesty International says it has received credible evidence of detainees being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since the coup attempt.

Last week, Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency, allowing the president and the government to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.