Turkish authorities cancelled state-issued press cards of 889 journalists, according to Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül.

In response to a parliamentary question over the past week, Gül said the number of press cards cancelled in 2016 in Turkey was 889.

Among the reasons for revocations were, the minister said, leave of employment, closure of media outlets, national security measures, deceases, expirations of the existing cards, missing documents within the applicant institutions and journalists with two occupations.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has speeded up a media crackdown following a July 15 foiled coup attempt. The government has closed more than 187 media organizations and arrested at least 302 journalists. While some 185 of those still remain in pretrial detention, the rest were released pending trial.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept 20 that there is no journalist who was imprisoned in Turkey other than terrorists and thieves, implying that the government jailed them not for journalistic activities. Media associations and human rights groups strictly oppose this idea.

The year of 2016 also saw the violent confiscation of some media associations over terror charges. Once the management was seized by the government-appointed trustees, dozens of journalists were left jobless.

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