A Turkish court has ordered the closure of Özgür Gündem (loosely translated, Free Agenda) on grounds of “producing terror propaganda” for the PKK separatist group.

The court order describes the closure as “temporary” although no duration appears to be specified in the text of the decision.

The decision, made by the eighth magistrates court of Istanbul, has sent shockwaves through the paper’s readership and civil society groups in Turkey, although Turkish nationalists are celebrating the closure of a publication which has frequently been singled out for its close ties to the PKK.

Twitter accounts restricted, websites blocked

Access to the Twitter feed and posts by Özgür Gündem have already been restricted in Turkey for some time, and multiple pre-existing “protection” orders preventing access to the paper’s websites as administered by the recently-closed TIB communication bureau were already in effect.

TIB Ozgur Gundem

The many faces of Ozgur Gundem

Faced with censorship and political pressure, the paper has gone through several iterations…

Name (tr) Name (en) begin end
Özgür Ülke Free Land 28 April 1994 2 February 1995
Yeni Politika New Politics 13 April 1995 16 August 1995
Demokrasi Democracy 12 December 1996 3 May 1997
Ülkede Gündem Agenda in the Country 7 July 1997 23 October 1998
Özgür Bakış Free View 18 April 1999 24 April 2000
2000’de Yeni Gündem New Agenda in 2000 27 April 2000 31 May 2001
Yedinci Gündem Seventh Agenda 23 June 2001 30 August 2002
Yeniden Özgür Gündem New Free Agendy 2 September 2003 28 February 2004
Ülkede Özgür Gündem Free Agenda in the Country 1 March 2004 16 November 2006
Toplumsal Demokrasi Social Democracy 16 November 2006 5 January 2007


The closure comes amidst a wider crackdown of media groups, journalists and academics in Turkey as a reaction to the 15 July coup attempt:

Members of the Ozgur Gundem editorial team were not available for comment.