Report says press freedom issues in Turkey increasing exponentially

A press freedom report released on Tuesday has underlined that issues pertaining to the deterioration of press freedom in Turkey are increasing and”exponentially,and” pointing to a controversial decision by a court to appoint trustees to Koza ipek Holding, which owns several media outlets that were critical of the government.
The October report, released by Press for Freedom Project (andOiB) on Friday, describes the takeover of Koza ipek as a forceful seizure by trustees.
On Oct. 27, an Ankara court ordered the takeover of Koza ipek Holding, which owns the ipek Media Group, appointing trustees to run its five critical media outlets — Bugandun TV, Kanaltandurk TV and radio station, and the Bugandun and Millet dailies.
On Oct. 28, the broadcast of Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk was cut. The trustees who ordered the termination said they did not need to explain themselves because the decision to cancel the broadcast was made with the board of directors.
The channels and dailies were turned into government mouthpieces a short while after their seizure. The andOiB report highlights that although Koza ipek Holding was allegedly placed in the care of trustees due to financial issues, the subsequent dismissal of 82 journalists and appointment of new pro-government ones to replace them is an issue of concern.
The Bugandun TV, Kanaltandurk, Shaber and Samanyolu stations have become targets of the governmentand’s crackdown because they are seen as affiliated with the Gandulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the movement of instigating the massive corruption probes of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, which implicated ministers in his government and even some of his family members, as part of a plot to overthrow the government.
The andOiB report, a project of the Journalists Association (GS) and funded by the EU, aims to document violations of press freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey in reports issued on a monthly basis.
The report criticized the threats made by a number of pro-government journalists against media outlets critical of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), such as Cem Kanduandcanduk, who threatened Handurriyet daily columnist Ahmet Hakan Coikun, a widely read columnist known for his critical stance toward the government, in a column in a September edition of the pro-government Star daily.
and”Like a schizophrenic, you think you are still living in the era when Turkey was ruled by the Handurriyet daily. If we [pro-government members of the media] want, we can crush you like a fly. You are still alive because we have shown mercy,and” Kanduandcanduk wrote in his column.
On Oct. 30, Kanduandcanduk also threatened the Zaman daily and Samanyolu Broadcasting Corporation, arguing that the state is going to seize these companies like it did Koza ipek Holding.
Kanduandcanduk previously called on media mogul Aydin Dogan, owner of the Dogan Media Group, which includes the groupand’s flagship Handurriyet, to dismiss a group of journalists and columnists, including Eyandup Can and Nazli Ilicak, and has now asked Ferit iahenk, Doiui Group chairman, who owns the mainstream NTV network, to fire Mustafa Karaalioilu, the head of NTV, and his team.
The report also spoke of the removal of several TV stations, including Samanyolu TV, Mehtap TV, Kanaltandurk and Samanyolu Haber, from service providers such as Digiturk, Turkcell+, Kablo TV and Teledandunya in October.
More recently stations owned by the Samanyolu Broadcasting Corporation were removed from the state-owned Tandurksat satellite at midnight on Saturday. Tandurksatand’s controversial move came despite a decision by the Ankara 6th Administrative Court on Friday demanding that it submit to the court and”the documents, information and legal evidenceand” it has to justify the removal. The court also urged Tandurksat to submit its defense within the required legal period.
The TV and radio stations removed from Tandurksat are as follows: Samanyolu TV, the Samanyolu Haber news channel, Samanyolu TV Europe, Samanyolu Africa, Mehtap TV, Yumurcak TV, MC TV, Dandunya TV, Tuna Shopping TV, Irmak TV, MC EU, Ebru TV, Samanyolu Haber Radio, Burandc FM, Radyo Mehtap, Dandunya Radyo, Radyo Berfin and Radyo Cihan.


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