At least 259 journalists have been jailed around the world this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported; the most since it began a detailed annual census of imprisonments in 1990. The increase was largely due to a surge of imprisonments in Turkey after the quick failure of a minor military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July.
At least 81 journalists — almost a third of the worldwide total — were incarcerated by the Erdogen government, “the highest number in any one country at any time.” Tens of thousands of Turkish teachers, judges and government workers have also been jailed or fired.
Erdogan’s Turkey was the biggest jailer of journalists in the world (81) way ahead of China, (at least 38) Egypt, (25); Eritrea, (17); and Ethiopia, (16).
The committee cited an October 31, 2016 raid on the offices of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest secularist daily newspaper, where at least a dozen journalists were detained on accusations of producing propaganda for outlawed Kurdish separatists; and a former allied, now banned organization, run by Imam Fethullah Gulen, a political rival of Mr. Erdogan.
Imam Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been accused by Turkish investigators of fomenting the attempted coup against Mr. Erdogan, a charge that Mr. Gulen has denied. The Turkish government wants the United States to extradite him so Erdogan can have him tried and jailed.