Turkey seizes control of anti-Erdogan daily in raid, US expresses concern

The swoop caused immediate concern in Washington and Brussels amid the intensifying worries over the climate for freedom of expression in Turkey.

By: AFP | Istanbul | Updated: March 5, 2016 5:15 pm
Turkey, Turkey newspaper raid, Turkey paper raid, Turkey freedom of speech, REcep Tayyip Erdogan Riot police enter the headquarters of Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper Zaman in Istanbul, Friday, March 4, 2016. The police raid came hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees on Friday. The move against the paper, which is linked to an opposition cleric, heightened concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in the country. (AP Photo)

Turkish authorities were on Saturday in control of a newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after using tear gas and water cannon to seize its headquarters in a dramatic raid that raised fresh alarm over declining media freedoms.

Police fired the tear gas and water cannon just before midnight yesterday at a hundreds-strong crowd that had formed outside the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul following a court order issued earlier in the day, an AFP photographer said.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

The swoop caused immediate concern in Washington and Brussels amid the intensifying worries over the climate for freedom of expression in Turkey. EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said he was “extremely worried”. Zaman, closely linked to Erdogan’s arch-foe, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, was ordered into administration by the court on the request of Istanbul prosecutors, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

Hundreds of supporters then gathered outside its headquarters awaiting the arrival of bailiffs and security forces after the court order. “Democracy will continue and free media will not be silent,” Zaman’s editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici was quoted as saying by the Cihan news agency just before the police raid.

“I believe that free media will continue even if we have to write on the walls. I don’t think it is possible to silence media in the digital age,” he told Cihan, part of the Zaman media group. Shortly before midnight, a team of police arrived with two Turkish-made TOMA water cannon trucks used by the police and exported to several countries.

They advanced military style towards the waiting supporters, firing the freezing water directly at them. Using bolt-cutters to unlock the iron gate in front of the building, dozens of police then marched into the premises to seize the headquarters and formally place it under administration, pushing aside anyone who stood in their way, Cihan images showed.

Once the building was cleared, the court-appointed administrators — lawyers Tahsin Kaplan and Metin Ilhan and writer Sezai Sengonul — were bussed inside the complex to begin their work, Anatolia said. The Cihan news agency and the Today’s Zaman English language daily — which are also part of the Feza Publications group that owns Zaman — and are also affected by the court
order.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

  1. S
    Sirius
    Mar 5, 2016 at 4:38 pm
    Well , you could have at least spelled Erdogan correctly. I am still waiting for your organized protest meet on Erdogan's facism ...
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. S
      Sirius
      Mar 5, 2016 at 12:13 pm
      The 'eminent' liberals, Minority TV panelists, JNU lal-am profs. , Mr. Rahul, Mr. Yechury, Mr. Raja, now do you understand what fascism is. But you will never 'debate' the actions of Caliph Erdogan , because you do not wish to harm your consuency ...
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. B
        Biltu
        Mar 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm
        THIS UNCIVILISED COUNTRY WANTS TO JOIN THE EU.
        (0)(0)
        Reply
        1. Raghu Panjala
          Mar 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm
          Only y##s think , that liberals will support ergodan. Instead Modi will lick the as$$ s of ergodan to learn some dictatorial policies. Wait India , India is seeing another Ergodan in action. We might have our newspapers muzzled. Beware. Liberal parties should meet Turkey OPPOSITION or ask our GOI to show support to Turkey Oposition.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
          1. P
            pre Boomer
            Mar 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm
            Europe, the US and NATO will do nothing. What's worse, neither will the Turkish Armed Forces. The General Staff is using Kemal Ataturk urinal traps in the restrooms at its headquarters. In less than a decade, they have turned into spineless cowards.
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. Load More Comments