Demirtas denounces ’mafia-like’ actions against media

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtas paid a visit to the İpek Media Group’s offices in İstanbul to show solidarity with the group, which was stormed by police early on Wednesday, denouncing the police forces acting like a mafia in their actions against members of the media.

Turkish riot police stormed the headquarters of İpek’s media outlets in İstanbul on Wednesday morning, after authorities appointed several trustees to replace the management of the İpek Koza Holding business, which houses media outlets that include Bugun TV, the flagship station that has emerged as a main platform for opposition politicians over recent months.

In his remarks from the group’s broadcasting room, Demirtas said he is not surprised by the seizure of the companies and media outlets under Koza İpek Holding as these incidents took place many times under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“It is unbelievable that a state; a government’s acting rudely, like a mafia, like an illegal organization… right in the public eye, during a live broadcast…The appointment of a board of trustees turning into seizure, police forces’ cutting the cables of [broadcasting cameras] is not stated in any law. You may appoint the board of trustees for a temporary period… Spraying pepper gas, using batons, cutting the cables are mafia-like, gang-like practices,” Demirtas stated.

Demirtas called Wednesday’s raid “a serious attack against people’s right to information.”

“This is a show of force being made, made via police force; it is a reflection of a government’s mindset based on forced power. It also raises suspicions [as it comes] just a couple of days before the election. It raises questions about their having a plan or some hesitation about the broadcast that would have been made during election day,” Demirtas stated.

In his earlier remarks on Wednesday Demirtas called this week’s seizure of the companies and media outlets under Koza İpek Holding “unacceptable”

“We didn’t start the day in a good way. We started the day with almost a practice of oppression, confiscating of a media outlet, a television station, under the guise of an appointment of trustees. Are we surprised? No. Unfortunately this is the AKP’s [AK Party] Turkey,” Demirtas said, adding that similar actions have been ongoing. “We started the day with an incident that didn’t surprise us but with an incident that hurt and saddened us once again.”

The HDP leader defined the appointment of a board of trustees to Koza İpek Holding’s companies and its media outlets as “an unacceptable practice.”

“The government should also know that no one will remain silent against such a practice that violates the rights of people in such an obvious way,” Demirtas added.

The party leader also stressed that today’s pressure may seem to target only a media group, but is also directed at the entire nation.