The American Booksellers Association (ABA) joined American publishers, authors, and librarians in a letter urging U.S. President Barack Obama to protest the widespread suppression of free speech in Turkey during his September 4 meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan in China.

In the letter co-signed by the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, PEN America, and the American Library Association, ABA said a government crackdown that began following a failed coup attempt on July 15 is threatening democracy in Turkey. So far, the government has shut down 29 publishers, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, and 15 magazines. It has also issued arrest warrants for 40 journalists and 47 employees of a newspaper.

“The United States….cannot allow the Turkish government to use the coup as a pretext for the suppression of free speech and other essential liberties,” the letter to President Obama said. “We ask you to urge President Erdoğan to allow the closed media companies to reopen and to desist from further efforts to suppress free speech.”

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