US academic accosted by Turkish Embassy counselor

The circulation of the Bugandun and Millet newspapers has hit rock bottom since trustees took over management of Koza ipek Holding following a court decision last week.
While the Bugandun daily, the flagship media outlet of the holding, was selling around 104,000 copies a day before the decision, the corresponding figure dropped to 5,600 on average.
The circulation of Millet, in the meantime, plummeted from 47,500 to 15,000 in the same period. Even the reduced number of copies sold are reportedly being sent to subscribers at public institutions.
In what many have called sweeping oppression against dissidents in the country, an Ankara court, on Oct. 26, put Koza ipek Holding under administrative receivership with the management of 22 companies having been handed over to government-appointed trustees.
Even though Article 30 of the Turkish Constitution bans any act of seizure against media outlets, the court justified its decision by saying the holding was financing a so-called terror organization. The media outlets under the holding had a critical stance against the government.
Once the trustees assumed full control of the media outlets, all editorial policy of the dailies and TV channels were changed to have a pro-government stance.
Turkish media also said on Friday that the ratings of the holdingand’s Bugandun and Kanaltandurk television channels decreased after the move.
and”We succeeded with Bugandun TV to be ranked among the top three news channels, according to ratings. We sometimes came in first place, sometimes in second. Its rating has hit the bottom now,and” Tarik Toros, former general manager of Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, told Todayand’s Zaman.
Erhan Baiyurt, the former editor-in-chief of the Bugandun newspaper, meanwhile said the trustees are trying to draw the media outlets into bankruptcy. and”The trustees will bankrupt [the holding] but compensation in the future will be paid with public resources. It is a pity for Turkey,and” said Baiyurt.
The trustees appointed to the administration of the media outlets dismissed some 74 media personnel in nearly 10 days, of which 71 were journalists and the three others were the marketing director, his assistant and a director in the sales department of the ipek Media Group.
Dismissed Marketing Director Nuri andceltikandci told reporters on Friday that the trustees fired him during a meeting in which the dropping circulation figures were being discussed.
and”I guess people do not like to read a newspaper managed by trustees,and” andceltikandci said.
In the meantime, CEO of Koza ipek Holding Akin ipek tweeted on Thursday night saying that the only solution to get rid of this tension is to ensure that judges respect the rule of law.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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