Turkey shuts down TV channel, suspends 13000 police officers

Turkey shuts down TV channel, suspends 13000 police officers

Turkey has shut down a television station for allegedly “spreading terrorist propaganda” after the country extended the state of emergency declared following a failed coup d’etat last summer.

Turkish authorities also suspended nearly 13,000 police officers and detained dozens of air force officers.

Turkey’s state of emergency allows the government to adopt “executive orders”, which act as laws, without parliament approval.

IMC TV, known for its pro-Kurdish and liberal content, became the latest Turkish media organisation to be closed down on Tuesday after police raided the building and cut the broadcast live on air.

The channel was among several outlets ordered shut down since last week.

“We reported on the Kurdish issue because it is probably the most challenging problem Turkey has been facing. As journalists, of course, we will have stories on this issue. But IMC TV is not only about this. We also reported on human rights, women’s rights, other minorities, and the bans imposed on the society,” Banu Guven, a veteran journalist with the IMC TV, said.

“There is no rule of law in Turkey under the state of emergency, so there are no tools to use against such unlawful accusations.”

The state of emergency allows ministers to order the closure of media organisations, provided they are “threats to national security”. Dozens of outlets have been closed down since July.

The Cabinet of Ministers has extended the state of emergency for an additional 90 days, government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said on Tuesday.

Emergency measures were imposed in July in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt that killed almost 300 people.

Talip Kucukcan, an academic and ruling AK Party MP, said Turkey was going through a rough period and moves made under the state of emergency were necessary for the country to normalise.

“Turkey is facing the aftermath of a coup attempt, and frequent terror attacks by ISIS and the PKK. A country, that has lost more than 500 soldiers and hundreds of its citizens in a short time cannot tolerate individuals, organisations, and media outlets praising the culprits of these crimes,” Kucukcan told Al Jazeera.

“France is also going through a state of emergency. The loss that country suffered from terrorism is in no comparison to Turkey. However, after being the victim of two attacks, it has declared its own state of emergency.”

13.000 police officers arrested

The police headquarters said 12,801 officers, including 2,523 chiefs, were suspended because of their suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the attempt to overthrow the government.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any link to the coup attempt, which led to the deaths of more than 240 people.

As well as suspending five percent of the entire police force, the authorities detained 33 air force officers in raids across the country, the private Dogan news agency reported, and the transmission of TV station IMC was cut following accusations of spreading “terrorist propaganda”.

State-run Anadolu Agency said 37 people working in the Interior Ministry’s headquarters had also been removed from their posts, although no explanation was given.

Since the July 15 insurrection, president Erdogan has taken steps to rid state institutions of staff deemed disloyal or potential enemies. About 100,000 people in the military, civil service, police, judiciary and universities have been sacked or suspended from their jobs, and 32,000 arrested.

The government says its aim is to rid institutions of links to Gulen, whose organization it calls a terrorist network.

Rights groups and some of Ankara’s Western allies have expressed concerns about the crackdown on opposition groups and media in the country, despite their denunciation of the coup attempt.