Seizure of critical media ‘state terrorism,’ senior journalist says

A senior journalist has blasted the seizure of some critical media outlets based on a controversial court order days before a general election, saying the move is an instance of state terrorism.
andquotThis is state terrorism,andquot said Hasan Cemal who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily.
Vowing that journalists will not forget such despotism, he added, and”This is the occupation of freedom.and”
Murat Uzun, the general manager of the Kanaltandurk television channel, one of the seized media outlets, said the treatment they were subjected to is worse than the practices of a military coup regime.
The anti-democratic practices of the military regime of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup are nothing compared to the way their media outlets were taken over, Uzun said while his channel was being taken off the air.
The broadcasting of ipek Media Group television stations Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk was cut on Wednesday afternoon after police teams escorting a board of trustees appointed to take over management of the group entered the television stationsand’ satellite uplink room.
It is meaningless to talk about the rule of law, Uzun added.
Turkey will hold an early general election on Nov. 1.
The Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled on Monday that trustees would be appointed to take over the management of 22 companies of the Koza ipek Holding, which also owns some critical media outlets.
What they were subjected to following the arrival of the appointed trustees, with the police forcefully entering the headquarters of the critical media group in Istanbul, makes one believe the media group was involved in some kind of terrorist activity rather than publishing and broadcasting, Uzun stated.
Declaring the media group will continue with its activities under a new formation after the takeover, he challengingly added: and”This isnand’t over. We will continue to broadcast.and”
The trustees appointed to manage the critical media outlets — which includes the Bugandun and Kanaltandurk television channels and the Bugandun and Millet dailies — are either members of the interim ruling Justice and Development (AK Party), relatives of AK Party members or people who formerly worked for pro-government media groups.
According to the relevant law, trustees are required to be independent and impartial figures.
Erhan Baiyurt, the former editor-in-chief of the Bugandun daily who was fired on Thursday by the new board of the company, described the move as censorship, drawing attention to the fact that freedom of the press is protected by the Constitution. Noting that the police after entering the building unplugged cables that transmit the live broadcast of the television channels, he said, and”This is against the Constitution.and”
Baiyurt also argued no trustees can be appointed to manage media outlets as per Article 30 of the Constitution, which states: and”A printing house and its annexes, duly established as a press enterprise under law, and press equipment shall not be seized, confiscated, or barred from operation on the grounds of having been used in a crime.
The former editor-in-chief also said the police tried to enter the media headquarters without presenting any court order.
Noting that some employees of the media outlets were even slightly injured during the policeand’s forced entry into the building, Baiyurt also criticized the police for also spraying pepper gas inside the building.
and”This is a violation of the Constitution and a crime,and” Baiyurt stressed. He also protested the attempt by the newly appointed trustees to intervene in the editorial line of the television channels, saying, and”Trustees only have to bother with the management and not the editorial line.and”
Baiyurt also strongly objected to Koza ipek media outlets being turned into government mouthpieces.
Following the government-led decision to seize Koza ipek Holding and appoint partisan trustees to take over the management of its companies, police entered the ipek Media Groupand’s headquarters and took the Kanaltandurk and Bugandun TV channels and the Kanaltandurk radio station off the air.
The Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday protested the seizure of the media outlets, saying the takeover should be perceived as an attack on the whole society.
In an editorial column, the daily said, and”The police raid on the Kanaltandurk and Bugandun television channels under the pretext of appointing trustees is a reckless attack on freedom of the press and expression.and”
Describing the police raid as an intimidation targeting the whole society, the daily said it is determined to keep up its fight against despotism.
The media headquarters was surrounded by hundreds of riot police with guns and pepper gas in their hands. Water cannons were busy spraying water over the crowd gathering around the building to protest the illegal seizure.
Bandulent Kenei, the editor-in-chief of Todayand’s Zaman who went to the media groupand’s headquarter on Wednesday to demonstrate solidarity with his colleagues, likened the scene to a battle front. Noting that he has been a reporter for 25 years, Kenei said, and”I feel ashamed to have witnessed such an incident.and”
Dogan ientandurk, the general manager of the Turkish branch of the Fox TV, said he was disturbed after seeing how the media groupand’s headquarters was raided by the police. and”What is in question here is the freedom of the press,and” he said.