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One of the leading international press freedom watchdogs, the International Press Institute (IPI), has said the recent seizure of the Koza ipek group after a government-backed decision is an alarming move.
andquotThis move is alarming, particularly given its timing, and it appears to be another example of the pressure on media that IPI and other press freedom groups warned about during last weekand’s emergency press freedom mission to Turkey. Not only does silencing critical media on the eve of an election send a chilling message to journalists, it suggests a distrust of votersand’ ability to filter information and make their own decisions,andquot IPI said in a statement sent to Todayand’s Zaman.
In the latest example of a politically motivated attack on the private sector and independent media, the interim Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government appointed a trustee to take over the management of Koza ipek Holding, which owns media outlets that are critical of the government, on Monday.
The decision came a month after auditors accompanied by a police escort conducted a raid on the offices of the holding in Ankara, while simultaneous raids on subsidiaries of the group were carried out elsewhere, as part of a media crackdown initiated by the AK Party ahead of the Nov. 1 elections. All those detained during the raids were released and the Finance Ministryand’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), which conducted the raids, failed to find any illegal activities or transactions.