Bugun, Millet turned into AK Party mouthpieces after takeover

The Bugandun and Millet dailies, which were forcibly taken over on Wednesday by a number of trustees appointed by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government following a controversial court decision, were turned into black propaganda instruments of the AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday in their first editions printed after the takeover.
Police raided the headquarters of the media outlets on Wednesday after the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled on Monday for the takeover of the administration of Koza ipek Holdingand’s companies, which includes critical media outlets, in a government-backed move. The trustees took over the management of the Bugandun and Millet dailies, as well as Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, following a physical police intervention in which many journalists and protesters were subjected to excessive police force early on Wednesday.
The trustees stopped Thursdayand’s edition of the two dailies from going to print on Wednesday. A group of police officers also cut the Kanaltandurk broadcast after breaking into the holdingand’s headquarters, while another group stormed the production control room of Bugandun TV on Wednesday.
The appointed trustees are either members of the AK Party or former employees of pro-government dailies, casting doubts over an impartial guardianship.
The Bugandun and Millet dailies published their first editions on Friday after the trustees took over. However, the Friday editions of both papers were full of propaganda reports for the AK Party government and Erdogan, while there was almost no report on the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) ahead of the Nov. 1 snap election.
The Friday edition of Bugandun published on its front page a large photo from the Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations in Ankara in which Erdogan is at the center. In its top story, headlined and”Cumhur meydandaand” (Nation in the square), Bugandun included Erdoganand’s remarks during the celebrations in which he claimed he is conducting a so-called and”battle for democracy in unity, solidarity and brotherhood.and”
Erdoganand’s statement that Turkey will achieve the AK Partyand’s grand vision for 2023, when Turkey celebrates the centennial of the establishment of the republic, were also included in the lead story.
In addition to conducting propaganda for Erdogan, the trustees also included a report on an electoral rally held by acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu, the chairman of the AK Party, on the paperand’s front page. The report says Davutoilu called for peace and brotherhood during the rally, which saw a low turnout by locals in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday.
Similar to Bugandunand’s Friday edition, the Millet daily, currently being managed by trustees, also included partisan reports on Erdogan and the AK Party on Friday. The paper placed a large photo of Erdogan on a ceremonial car with several police officers around him from the official celebration for Republic Day. The daily allocated half of its front page to this photo, with the headline and”Tandurkiye tek yandurekand” (Turkey beats with one heart).
The trustees placed the same remarks by Erdogan below the headline, similar to the Bugandun report.
Millet also presented Davutoiluand’s Diyarbakirand’s rally under the same headline, and”Diyarbakirand’dan kardeilik mesajiand” (Message of brotherhood from Diyarbakir).
The front pages of both dailies clearly demonstrate the trustees were appointed to change the editorial lines of those formerly critical media outlets in favor of Erdogan and the AK Party.
h2 Trustee admits was appointed to change papersand’ stanceh2 One of the appointed trustees, Hasan andOlandcer, admitted on his Twitter account on Thursday night that they were appointed to change the editorial polices of the Bugandun and Millet dailies.
andOlandcer said the two dailies will continue to be published, but will take what he called a and”moral and nationaland” line.
and”The publication of the newspapers we were appointed to will not stop. On the contrary, they will continue along a moral and national line that will represent the people of Anatolia,and” andOlandcer tweeted. Although he did not explain what he meant, many interpreted his remarks as a clear indication that the dailies will follow a pro-government editorial policy.
andOlandcerand’s tweet, posted with a new profile picture taken in one of the offices of the seized news outlets, came hours after he insulted several employees from the Bugandun daily during a meeting on Thursday and unlawfully dismissed those employees who refused to act in line with his orders.
andOlandcer, who presided over the meeting, had also criticized the Thursday edition of the newspaper.
h2 Fired editors of both dailies continue to publish alternative editionsh2 Bugandun Editor-in-Chief Erhan Baiyurt, Publishing Coordinator Mehmet Yilmaz, Managing Editor GandungandOr Ergun and two reporters were fired by the trustees on Thursday. In addition, the trustees also fired several editors from the Millet daily, including Editor-in-Chief Deier andOzergin, Managing Editor Cuma Ulus and Economy Editor Ufuk ianli.
The unlawful takeover and the insults and dismissals, however, have not dissuaded the fired editors from their struggle for a and”free mediaand” in Turkey.
The editors of Bugandun who were fired on Thursday prepared their own edition of the papers for Friday and released it on a newly launched website (http:www.ozgurbugun.com) in protest of the propagandist edition.
The editors changed the name of the paper to andOzgandur Bugandun (Free Bugandun) to stress that the Bugandun daily was being controlled by the trustees.
All the details of the illegal takeover were covered in the edition prepared by Editor-in-Chief Baiyurt, who used the slogan and”Free media cannot be silenced: You [the government] were unable to silence [us].and” Koza ipek Holding CEO Akin ipekand’s comments about the unlawful takeover were also included in the edition.
Speaking to the Cihan news agency about the andOzgandur Bugandun daily on Friday, Baiyurt said the new daily was prepared under very difficult circumstances, adding the paper is completely legal and is a way of demonstrating their democratic protest against what happened to their daily.
Saying the newspaper consists of eight pages, Baiyurt added the new paper is an initiative by those who were dismissed from the newspaper by the trustees and is funded out of their own pockets. Announcing that andOzgandur Bugandun will continue to be published, Baiyurt said the price of the paper will be TL 1, adding: and”It is currently the most valuable newspaper in Turkey. My journalist friends say they will continue to publish it. There is no legal obstacle to doing so. But because Turkey is no longer a state of law, of course anything can happen.and”
The Millet daily also released an alternative edition on Friday. ipek released all the pages of the Millet dailyand’s edition prepared by the dismissed editors on his Twitter account on Friday.
The headline of the lead story in the alternate Millet daily was and”Egemenlik Milletindirand” (Sovereignty belongs to the nation). The headline says the media outlets affiliated with Koza ipek Holding were confiscated in a move that clearly violated Article 30 of the Constitution, which bans any act of seizure of media outlets, adding that the government is publicly attacking freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
Commenting on the Friday publications of the Bugandun and Millet dailies, CHP deputy Mahmut Tanal said on Twitter that the trustees do not have any right to interfere with the editorial policies of the seized dailies, indicating the trusteesand’ interference is completely unlawful.