Pro-gov’t Islamists occupy posts in seized media group

People with Islamist backgrounds or neo-nationalist leanings have been appointed as trustees and reporters at the formerly dissident ipek Media Group after the parent firm was put under administrative receivership, in the week before the Nov. 1 election, based on a controversial court order.
Hasan andOlandcer, one of the court-appointed trustees now managing the media group, is a lawyer who represented Salih Mirzabeyoilu, the leader of the militant Great Eastern Islamic Raidersand’ Front (iBDA-C).
Mirzabeyoilu was sentenced to life in jail on charges of and”attempting to change by force the constitutional orderand” but was released following a retrial in 2014 after serving 16 years.
The IBDA-C, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, claimed responsibility for the 2003 Istanbul bombings in which four truck bomb attacks left 57 people dead and 700 wounded.
In a 2014 interview with the Islamist Baran magazine, which has a close ideological affiliation with iBDA-C, andOlandcer said Mirzabeyoilu is a person who elicits respect thorough his stance against the regime, the government and the state.
andOlandcer also previously led a rally protesting the imprisonment of another former client, Venezuelan criminal Carlos the Jackal, who is currently serving a life sentence in France.
In a 2011 speech in Istanbul, in defense of Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramandiacuterez Sandaacutenchez, andOlandcer called Carlos a and”symbol of the honorable struggle against imperialism and Zionism.and”
Days before the snap general election on Nov. 1, the Ankara 5th Penal Court of Peace ruled in a government-backed operation that trustees be appointed to replace the existing boards of directors of Koza ipek Holding, which includes a media group. The group has two TV channels — Bugandun, a news channel, and Kanaltandurk — as well as two dailies — Bugandun and Millet.
Ceyhun Bozkurt, the former news editor of the ultranationalist Aydinlik daily, is also among those hired by the Bugandun daily following the seizure.
On Sunday night Bozkurt confirmed via his Twitter account Turkish media reports stating that he had been recruited. He said he quit his job at Aydinlik — which is known for its ties to the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP) and its leader Doiu Perinandcek — a week ago and applied to Bugandun for a job.
The striking feature in common of the people who have been appointed to the media group following the illegal seizure is that they are mostly either figures who have worked for the pro-government Turkuvaz Media Group or who have links with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Ahmet Gemici, who held a prominent editorial post in the pro-government Kanal 7 television channel, was in the past week appointed by the trustees as director of Bugandun and Kanaltandurk. Kanal 7, for which Gemici worked for many years, is an Islamist media outlet.
Another journalist with radical Islamist leanings, Yahya iekerci, has recently been appointed as editor-in-chief of the Millet daily. iekerci previously worked for the Dirilii Postasi (The Revival Post), which is a pro-AK Party Islamist daily.
He said on Twitter on Nov. 10., the day Mustafa Kemal Atatandurk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, died in 1938, and”The oppression ended exactly 77 years ago!and”
Upon strong protests, he first deleted the posting, and then claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked.
Many Islamists in Turkey, including many figures in the Islamist AK Party, hate Atatandurk for having established a secular republic while abolishing the caliphate.
The appointment of partisan trustees so close to the election was heavily criticized by opposition parties as an effort to silence and intimidate media outlets critical of the government.
The takeover of the holding was conducted based on an expert opinion that said there was no fault in the holdingand’s accounts. The prosecutor argued in his notice that it is suspicious for a holding to have such clean accounting practices given that it is almost impossible to achieve such a thing in Turkey.
Handudai Bal and andumit andOnal are among the trustees nominated to serve in the managing board of the ipek Media Group. Both Bal and andOnal previously had senior positions in the Turkuvaz Media Group.
According to the relevant law, trustees are required to be independent and impartial figures. Many journalists in what is now the formerly dissident media group have been unjustly fired following the seizure on Oct. 26.


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