Journalists, press organizations condemn violent police raids on Ipek Media Group

Prominent journalists and leading press organizations in Turkey have condemned violent police raids on the headquarters of ipek Media Group news outlets, which was stormed by riot police shortly after dawn on Wednesday, with police handcuffing and injuring several journalists working for the group.
During the police raid, the police broke the door of the building, located in Istanbuland’s MecidiyekandOy neighborhood. Some of the reporters were injured as they were handcuffed from behind.
A reporter from a newspaper of the group tweeted an image of his bloody hands, showing how he was injured while resisting the police who tried to seize his office.
Another editor, Fatih Akalan, yelled at the police outside the building in a futile attempt to protest the takeover. A number of reporters just stood outside with tears in their eyes, watching the newspapers and TV stations they had worked for for years be taken over by riot police.
During a live broadcast on Wednesday, Bugandun TV General Manager Tarik Toros resisted plainclothes police officers and a person who identified himself as an accountant appointed by the new trustees who tried to stop the broadcasting of Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk. After Toros insistently told the police officers and other officials who came to stop the broadcasting of Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk that he is still the stationand’s general manager and that they do not have the authority to stop the broadcast. Failing to stop the broadcast, they left the room.
h2 Bilici: AK Party negated its successes with crackdown on mediah2 According to Zaman Editor-in-Chief Abdandulhamit Bilici, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government negated its successful policies, practices and implementations of its 13 years in power with the recent crackdowns on the critical media, damaging Turkeyand’s image.
Bilici said during his visit to the headquarters of the ipek Media Group on Wednesday morning that the police raids and seizures of critical media outlets mean a crackdown on democracy, the free media, the opposition, investments and free enterprise.
Emphasizing that Turkey will not digress from democracy, Bilici said, and”As we defended the rights of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he was imprisoned for reciting a poem in 2001, today we are defending the rights of journalists who are assaulted and handcuffed in front of their offices and whose media outlets are seized.and”
Todayand’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bandulent Kenei, who went to the headquarters of the ipek Media Group to show his solidarity with colleagues on Wednesday morning, was forcibly dragged out of the building. Kenei told Todayand’s Zaman that he entered the premises through the front gate after showing his press card, but that an official who did not reveal his name then ordered police officers to and”take him out of hereand” when he saw Kenei.
and”I could see the antipathy and the hatred of the police officers and officials who went to the ipek Media Group headquarters in the morning to seize the media outlets of the group when I looked at their faces,and” Kenei said.
h2 andlsquoConstitutional Court must act immediatelyand’h2 A columnist for the Handurriyet daily and a legal expert who voiced concerns in his column on Wednesday, veteran journalist Taha Akyol says the seizure of the ipek Media Group is an unlawful and political decision. According to Akyol, the Constitutional Court must therefore end this unlawfulness immediately as it previously did after the December 2013 probes, when the court lifted a ban that had been placed on Twitter by the government after audio recordings revealing corruption within the AK Party spread on the Internet.
Akyol underlined that the decision to appoint trustees to the Koza-ipek Holding board of trustees, including the ipek Media Group media outlets, is a blatant seizure by the government which aims to convert critical media outlets into pro-government ones.
Akyol also added that the AK Party government started to use the judiciary as a tool in 2014, after new legislation was passed in Parliament by the votes of AK Party deputies, who held the majority at that time, in order to silence critical voices who opposed the government.
Emphasizing that the governmentand’s seizure of the ipek-Koza Holding subsidiaries is a violation of the right to property, Akyol noted that these companies may suffer huge financial losses if the Constitutional Court delays handing down a decision to end the unlawful seizure. and”Those who have the power to do so use the law [in order to silence their critics]. How can we have peace and security in such a country?and” he added.
Speaking with Toros via phone, Ayienur Arslan — a Halk TV program presenter and veteran journalist — called on all critical media outlets to be united against the government crackdown on free media regardless of differences in their editorial policies.
Airing her conversation with Toros on Halk TV in a regular broadcast, Arslan said the AK Party government is openly violating freedom of the press and freedom of expression. and”The free press is being assaulted by the government,and” she said.