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Why is the Turkish government now targeting cartoons?

The Turkish government’s onslaught on small broadcasters with predominantly Kurdish, Alevi and leftist audiences sparks fears beyond the issue of press freedom.
News anchor Banu Guven is seen on a screen during a news broadcast at a studio of IMC TV, a news broadcaster slated for closure, in Istanbul, Turkey, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir - RTSQ9GP

ANKARA, Turkey — Late Sept. 28, the Turkish prime minister’s office issued orders for the closure of 23 TV and radio channels on the grounds they backed separatist and subversive activities. The decision was based on a legislative decree issued immediately after the July 20 declaration of the state of emergency over the failed coup attempt five days earlier.

Using the decree, the government moved the same day to close down all newspapers and radio and TV stations linked to the Fethullah Gulen community, which is held responsible for the putsch. With the state of emergency ongoing, the same decree was employed once again Sept. 28, but this time it targeted media outlets that had nothing to do with the Gulenists. They were all broadcasters with overwhelmingly Kurdish, Alevi and leftist audiences. The channels were accused of spreading propaganda in favor of separatist and subversive activities and the so-called Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization, a term Ankara uses to refer to Gulen followers.

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