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Daily Brief: Turkey Orders Closure of Dozens of Media Outlets

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July 28, 2016

Daily News Brief

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Turkey Orders Closure of Dozens of Media Outlets

The Turkish government has ordered 131 media outlets (BBC) to be shuttered and issued warrants to detain nearly ninety journalists (WaPo) this week as part of a widespread crackdown in response to an attempted coup earlier this month. Amnesty International called the move (Amnesty) against the media "a brazen attack of press freedom," and two top generals resigned (Anadolu) from the Supreme Military Council in protest (Al Jazeera) over the dismissals of personnel. More than two hundred people were killed during the attempt to overthrow the government, and fifteen thousand people have been detained by authorities since (Guardian).


 "The list includes journalists, such as Sahin Alpay, known for their leftist activism who do not share the religious worldview of the Gulenist movement. This has fueled the concerns that the investigation may be turning into a witch-hunt of the president's political opponents," writes Tulay Karadeniz, Gulsen Solaker, and Can Sezer for Reuters.

"The decree Wednesday targeted three news agencies, 16 television channels, 23 radio stations and 45 newspapers. Many of these companies are local or regional outlets. Turkey’s government pins the coup on a shadowy network of [opposition cleric Fethullah] Gulen sympathizers operating overseas and in the country, including in the media and a host of state institutions. The movement’s infiltration of the military’s officer corps is said to have given the coup plotters the critical mass needed to launch their failed bid to take over the state," Erin Cunningham writes for the Washington Post.

"This atmosphere of anxiety stands in stark contrast to the night of the attempted coup, when citizens of all backgrounds — Turks and Kurds, secularists and Islamists, liberals and nationalists — marched against the tanks. The plotters are believed to have planned a takeover for some time but were rushed into action when Turkish intelligence agencies caught on to them. In their haste, they sent young conscripts onto squares and bridges, botched an attack on Erdogan, and largely ignored the media. Crucially for the coup’s failure, the public swiftly turned against them," Zia Weise writes for Politico.


China and Russia to Hold Naval Exercises in South China Sea

China's defense ministry said it will host "routine" naval exercises with Russia in the South China Sea in September (Reuters). The announcement follows China's rejection of a Hague tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines against China's vast maritime claims.  

This CFR InfoGuide lays out China's maritime disputes.

INDONESIA: The government of Joko Widodo reappointed Sri Mulyani Indrawati as Indonesia's finance minister after her stint at the World Bank (FT), stoking confidence among investors about reform in Southeast Asia's largest economy.


Indian Authorities Partially Lift Kashmir Curfew After Weeks of Clashes

The Indian government partially lifted a curfew in cities in the Kashmir region (WSJ) it administers following weeks of unrest that have left forty-five people dead. The clashes follow a popular uproar after security forces killed a twenty-two year-old separatist leader earlier this month.

AFGHANISTAN: Pakistani authorities said that tens of thousands of refugee families living in Afghanistan who fled counterterror operations in North Waziristan must register with the government by Monday if they wish to return home (VOA)


Report: Syrian-Russian Forces Used Cluster Bombs 'Extensively' in Recent Offensive

A new report (HRW) documented forty-seven attacks in which cluster bombs were used in opposition-controlled regions of Syria since May. Meanwhile, Russia and Syria announced the opening of "humanitarian corridors" for civilians to flee the city of Aleppo (Middle East Eye) as President Bashar al-Assad offered amnesty to rebels who surrender.  

IRAN: Iran's crude exports to Asian markets, including Japan, South Korea, and India, jumped in the first half of 2016 (Bloomberg) following the lifting of sanctions on the country over its nuclear program.


Report: South Sudan Soldiers Raped Dozens of Women, Girls

A UN spokesman said there were "deeply disturbing reports of sexual violence" committed by South Sudanese soldiers in recent violence in Juba (Sudan Tribune). Witnesses said dozens of women and girls were sexually assaulted outside a United Nations camp (AP) and that two victims died from their injuries. Meanwhile, opposition leader Riek Machar said he is still vice president (Al Jazeera) and is near the capital city, despite a general being appointed to his post by President Salva Kiir.   

AFRICA: The New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced a $177.5 million investment into wind and solar power in Africa (FT), its largest pledge since the fund said it would stop investing in fossil fuels.  

CFR's Varun Sivaram writes about the role of innovation to stem climate change in this article for Foreign Affairs.


In Poland, Pope Francis Says Recent Attacks Are Not 'Religious War'

Pope Francis said during a visit to Poland that "all religions want peace" and that the current spate of attacks had their roots in political and economic interests (WSJ). The pontiff also called on the Polish government to embrace "those fleeing from wars and hunger."


Guantanamo Detainee Resettled in Uruguay Resurfaces in Venezuela

Former Guantánamo detainee Jihad Dhiab, who was resettled in Uruguay in 2014, reappeared in Caracas (AP) following a month during which his whereabouts were unknown. Dhiab told the Uruguayan embassy in Caracas that he wished to travel to Turkey to reunite with his family (WSJ).

VENEZUELA: Dissidents accused of planning anti-government actions said they were tortured or abused in detention (HRW) in Venezuela. U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch said that in many cases, government prosecutors failed to produce evidence of crimes other than the possession of political pamphlets and materials. The government denies the charges (AP).

This CFR Backgrounder looks at Venezuela's economic fractures during the current political crisis.

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