Reactions mount after police handcuffed people detained on ’reasonable suspicion’

Police arrived at the headquarters of the Zaman daily in the Yenibosna neighborhood of Istanbul late on Wednesday with helicopters were hovering around the building and water cannon vehicles and riot police waiting in front of the building.
It was not immediately clear why the police came to the building yet there have been rumors that the media outlet is among the targets of the government after another critical media group was seized late last month.
Zaman journalists at the building said police raided the building over claims that the andOzgandur Bugandun daily, which was launched after trustees were appointed to the Bugandun dailyand’s administration in a controversial decision, was being printed at a printing house belonging to the Zaman daily. Police searched only the printing house of the daily.
Zaman dailyandrsquos lawyer, Ali Odabaii, said there was no court warrant to search the Zaman building, adding that police came to the daily over a complaint by Bugandun dailyandrsquos lawyers that andOzgandur Bugandun daily was being printed at Zaman headquarters.
Police raided the headquarters of a number of media outlets early on Oct. 28 after the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled on Oct. 26 for the takeover of the administration of Koza ipek Holdingand’s companies, which includes critical media outlets in the ipek Media Group, in a government-backed move. The trustees then took over the management of the Bugandun and Millet dailies, as well as the stations Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, following the police intervention, during which many journalists and protesters were subjected to excessive police force.
The Bugandun and Millet dailies published their first editions after the trusteesand’ takeover on Oct. 30. Both papers contained what could be interpreted as propaganda from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with almost no reports on opposition parties, despite a general election being due to take place on Nov. 1. The newspapers under the management of the new trustees have since been turned into mouthpieces of the AK Party and Erdogan. The new management has also fired tens of journalists working at those newspapers and hired pro-government journalists instead.
In reaction to the new pro-government stance taken by their confiscated dailies, the editors of the Bugandun daily who had been fired started preparing an alternative edition of the paper to provide a platform for the publication of pieces they produce independently. The new website has attracted great interest and support from readers.
Wednesday police raid comes amidst increasing pressure on free media in Turkey and speculations over governmentandrsquos plans to seize the Zaman Media Group, one of the largest media groups in Turkey that also encompasses Todayandrsquos Zaman. Last week, Turkish whistleblower Fuat Avni claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the appointment of trustees to seize media outlets close to the Gandulen movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen. The whistleblower stated that Erdogan is planning to implement all his and”plotsand” against the critical media before losing the and”virtual powerand” he acquired following the Nov. 1 snap election that brought a landslide victory to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) he co-founded.
and”They want to finish the Cemaat [the movementand’s] media immediately and then move on to other media [outlets that are critical of government]. He [Erdogan] ordered the appointment of trustees to the Samanyolu Group and the Zaman daily. They are next,and” he tweeted. Many in Turkey are concerned that the government crackdown on critical and independent media has reached such a point that takeovers will soon engulf other media groups. Government whistleblower Avni claimed back in August that Koza ipek and later the Aydin Dogan media group would be seized by the government.
An anonymous AK Party-linked account, @WUAttack — notorious for targeting government critics through hatemongering andndash also tweeted on Wednesday as police raided Zaman that the daily was going to be seized after the conclusion of a G-20 summit to be held in Turkey on Nov. 15-16.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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