President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, emboldened by his narrow victory in Turkey’s referendum vote on April 16, continued his crackdown on the media and expelled 4,000 public officials Saturday.
He also banned daytime dating shows.
Erdoğan’s continued crackdown on free speech shows no sign of slowing, and the country has become a dangerous place for journalists. Currently:
- 120 journalists are behind bars, the largest number of journalists in detention in any country
- Many have been held there for months, and some are placed in solitary confinement
- More than 173 newspapers have reportedly been shut down, with more than 2,500 fired as a result
Since the referendum vote, 1,000 workers have been detained and another 9,000 suspended on accusations of ties to an Islamist group led by an American-based cleric, Fetullah Gullen, whom Erdoğan blames for the failed coup in the summer of 2016. More than 140,000 people have been expelled from the country.
Turkey also has a history of shutting down all or parts of the internet during times of political upheaval. Social media went dark during the coup last summer, as well as in November of last year, when elected officials from opposition parties were detained.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales decried the ban on Twitter:
The dating shows, a staple of Turkish daytime TV, were hugely popular, and the government had been mulling cancelling them for the last few months.
Feminists found them debasing and conservatives thought they profaned the institution of marriage, the New York Times reports.
“They are against our family values, culture, faith, and traditions,” said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş of the shows last month.