Turkish authorities seize newspaper close to cleric Gulen: state media


Turkish authorities seize newspaper close to cleric Gulen: state media

5 March, 2016 | arjun baral | 465 Views | comments

Turkish authorities seized control of the country’s largest newspaper on Friday in a widening crackdown against supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential foe of President Tayyip Erdogan.

Supporters of Gulen movement shout slogans during a protest outside the Kanalturk and Bugun TV building in Istanbul, Turkey, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/Files

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse a few thousand supporters who gathered outside Zaman newspaper’s offices and chanted, “Free press cannot be silenced.”

Rights groups and European officials criticised the confiscation of Zaman and its sister publication, the English-language Today’s Zaman, which occurred on the eve of a summit between Turkey and the European Union and as concerns mount that the Turkish government is stifling critical media.

Administrators were appointed to run Zaman at the request of an Istanbul prosecutor, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media. Gulen denies the charges. The two men were allies until police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption probe into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013.

“It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government,” said Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of Zaman.

“This is a dark period for our country, our democracy.”

Zaman is Turkey’s biggest selling newspaper, with a circulation of 650,000 as of the end of February, according to media-sector monitor MedyaTava website.

Police in riot gear pushed back Zaman supporters who stood in the rain outside its Istanbul office where they waved Turkish flags and carried placards reading “Hands off my newspaper” before they were overcome by clouds of tear gas, live footage on Zaman’s website showed.

Officers then forcibly broke down a gate and rushed into the building. The footage showed them scuffling with Zaman staff inside the offices.

तपाईले न्युज एनआरएन डट कमको ' एन्ड्रोईड एप्स ' डाउनलोड गर्नसक्नु हुनेछ | हामी सामाजिक संजाल फेसबुक ट्वीटरमा पनि छौं |



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