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    Policemen protect a soldier from the mob after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.

    Watchdog Urges Turkey to Respect Freedom of Press Amid Media Crackdown

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    Turkey should respect freedom of expression and abide by the rule of law following the coup attempt in the country, an international rights watchdog said on Wednesday amid the ongoing purge of the country's media.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — As the sweeping crackdown in Turkey following a failed coup continues, Amnesty International fears that purges are being extended to censor media houses and journalists, including those critical of government policy,  the watchdog said on its website.

    The organization said the crackdown on the media in Turkey was currently of "exceptional proportions."

    "While it is understandable, and legitimate, that the government wishes to investigate and punish those responsible for this bloody coup attempt, they must abide by the rule of law and respect freedom of expression," Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher, was quoted as saying by the watchdog.

    Gardner added that the protection of press freedom and "unhindered circulation of information" was essential in the current situation in Turkey.

    On July 15, the Turkish authorities said that an attempted coup was taking place in the country. It had been suppressed by the following day. Numerous news websites in Turkey have been shut down since then at the request of the prime minister's office, on the pretext of endangering national security or public order. The Turkish government reportedly revoked the licenses of 25 media houses.

    The country's crackdown on journalists and restrictions on freedom of speech have been condemned by the international community, including the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

    Turkey ranked 151st out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

    Related:

    Travel Ban Imposed on Turkey's Academics After Coup Attempt
    Council of Europe Alarmed by Torture, Hate Crimes in Turkey After Coup
    Commander of Turkish Gendarmerie Forces Dismissed After Failed Coup
    Tags:
    freedom of the press, media, crackdown, military, coup, Turkey
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