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US experts have voiced concern over the Turkish governmentand’s hostile takeover of a major critical media organization, with some likening the move to those taken during the times of Turkish military rule.
and”The takeover of media properties, irrespective of their affiliation, in Turkey today especially on the eve of elections is reminiscent of the days when the country was ruled by the military,and” Henri Barkey, who has been one of the leading Turkey analysts in Washington, said.
Stressing that the ipek Media Group outlets seized by the government did not encourage violence, Barkey — the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center — said shutting them down or taking them over is contrary to everything the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) promised it would do when it came to power.
While former US Ambassador to Ankara Jim Jeffrey called the takeover another worrisome development for Turkey, well-known Turkey and the Middle East expert in Washington, Dr. Steven Cook from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), said what happened in Turkey and”isnand’t terribly surprising.and” and”It is merely an escalation of the Turkish governmentand’s efforts to establish political control by silencing critical voices in the press,and” he said. The expert also has doubts that Ankara will be forced to pay a price for this violation of democratic norms. and”Europe needs Turkeyand’s help concerning the refugee crisis and the [US President Barack] Obama administration has long been curiously passive when it comes to the Turkish leadershipand’s political excesses,and” he added.
Trustees were appointed on Monday to take over the management of the ipek Media Group following a controversial court decision, and they forcibly took over the management of the Bugandun daily, as well as Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, following a police intervention in which many journalists and protesters were subjected to excessive police force early on Wednesday. They later fired the chief editors at the news outlets, justifying concerns that the takeover aims to silence and intimidate critical media ahead of Sundayand’s elections.
Foreign relations experts in Washington mostly agree that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have been on an authoritarian path, but the Obama administration abstains from voicing strong criticisms of Turkey on human rights and democratic norms in order not harm its relations with Turkey, which has a critical geo-strategic location for the US, in particular in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).