Erdogan orders court takeover of ZAMAN newspaper
"ISTANBUL: Trustees have been appointed for Zaman newspaper, a daily linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish court said on Friday." (Anadolu news agency)
Several media organizations in Turkey have been taken over by the government or put under pressure. Scores of journalists have been harrassed or jailed on flimsy charges.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly complained that the Zaman newspaper, especially its English language online service "Today's Zaman" and "Sunday's Zaman" were responsible for the bad image of his government abroad. It was obvious that sooner or later, his ire would hit the Zaman group, Now it has happened.
germanpages.de -- Deutsche Rundschau joined the chorus of protests by journalists and their associations worldwide with the following open message to the editors of Today's Zaman:
Subject: Government takeover
As the editor of a German and international online magazine
germanpages.de -- Deutsche Rundschau
I am shocked and saddened by the government takeover of ZAMAN. It is obvious that Turkey's democrator Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends not only to silence the last remaining critical newspaper in the country but to destroy the entire ZAMAN media group, as has already been done with another important media group.
My protest does not imply that I harbor particularly favorable views regarding the group's owner, Fetullah Guelen. It is on purely journalistic and legal grounds that I consider the government's act irresponsible and, by any democratic standard, illegal.
Our magazine will closely follow your case, hoping that law and democratic principles will prevail. I urge your government to immediately stop the takeover and refrain from any similar action in the future.
If this does not happen I will urge my government and the European Union to drop any dealings with the AKP government and to consider freezing Turkey's membership in NATO and other international bodies as long as this government is in place.
With kind regards,
Dr. Heinrich von Loesch
"Meanwhile late on Thursday, Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who “has no tolerance for any media group that would criticize his plans for a presidential switch” ordered the seizure of the Zaman daily, the main newspaper under the Feza Media Group.” “He told off those said to him that there is no legal basis to seize Zaman,” Avni claimed. “The order [to seize Zaman] has been sent to [his] men at the judiciary,” he further claimed." (Today's Zaman)
Zaman's English website was offline, with a message that read: "We will provide you, our readers, with a better quality and more objective service as soon as possible." Today's Zaman's twitter account is closed.(sputniknews)
Today's Zaman's web server is also closed. All past articles are lost. As if Today's Zaman never existed. However, many articles are still preserved in Google's cache. For how long?
"Turkish State Trustee Board seizes Cihan News Agency. Turkey’s Cihan news agency was placed under state control and access to the agency was blocked, according to Turkish opposition media." (sputniknews)
Chute vertigineuse des ventes de Zaman depuis la confiscation. Après sa confiscation, vendredi 4 mars, le journal le plus diffusé de Turquie a vu ses tirages baisser de 648 000 à 548 000 soit une chute de 100 000 exemplaires en quatre jours. L'effondrement de la diffusion puis la fermeture corrélative des journaux ont partie liée, une méthode qui permet au pouvoir de se débarrasser subrepticement de la presse d'opposition. (Zaman France)
On March 18, the New York Times weekly issue, in an editorial "Fading Demoracy" regretted the erosion of civil rights in Turkey, the suppression of ZAMAN aud the free press in general, the nearly 2000 cases aginst citizens "for insulting Erdogan". Erdogan's behavior "raises serious questions about whether Turkey can continue to be a trusted member of NATO", the newspaper says.