Takeover of Zaman Newspaper by Turkey Prompts International Outcry

Southeast Europe | March 5, 2016, Saturday // 12:02|  views

The move by Turkish authorities to initiate a takeover of Zaman newspaper has triggered an international backlash.

The US Department of State has said the decision is "the latest in a series of troubling judicial and law enforcement actions taken by the Turkish government".

The OSCE, the Council of Europe, Freedom House, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and national and world journalism bodies have strongly condemned the developments. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has urged EU leaders not to "remain silent".

Turkey's biggest newspaper is being taken over by the state, which on Friday appointed assignees after a court ruling earlier this week this week that provided no explanation whatsoever for its decision.

Zaman is linked to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, once described as an "arch-enemy" of the Turkish authorities, whom Ankara accuses of plotting a "coup" against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government.

Police raided the offices of Zaman on Friday. International media footage showed officers had to use water cannon and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered after news of the takeover was spread.

The comment by Today's Zaman (the English-language version published by Zaman) that Turkey was going through its "darkest and gloomiest days in terms of freedom of the press" gained much popularity on social media.

Several months earlier, Turkish authorities also detained Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, journalists from Cumhuriyet newspaper, over a report. The two are to be tried on March 25.

Ankara has repeatedly fended off accusations of not allowing freedom of speech and being dangerous to journalists.

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Tags: Zaman, Today's Zaman, Cumhuriyet, turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Fethullah Gulen


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