December 16, 2014

Dec. 14 raid initiated to silence media, prominent figures agree

Following the Dec. 14 operations against Zaman and Hizmet-affiliated officials on Sunday, now being labeled by some as a coup against the free media, Turkish political figures have continued to visit Zaman's building to show their support.

Hami Yıldırım, an independent deputy from Burdur province, called the raids on the Zaman daily and the detention of its Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, along with Hidayet Karaca, head of the Samanyolu TV network, acts of “silencing the free media.”

“It is not only silencing the media but also an act of limiting the people's freedom to have access to news,” Yıldırım said during his visit to the Zaman building.

Coming to the courtyard of the Zaman building, Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) Chairman Rıza Nur Meral called the raid on the Zaman Media Group “an act of averting and eliminating dissident voices.”

“One should not forget that international investors will not have an interest in a country where thoughts cannot be expressed freely, news cannot be exchanged freely and people's freedom is not respected, and where they have no access to news,” Meral said.

Another reaction came from İsmail Cingöz, president of the Hizmet-affiliated charity Kimse Yok Mu, which has been victimized by the government for the past several months as well. “People who love justice pay a large price to get it,” Cingöz said in an interview with Samanyolu TV. “No matter whether it's one of us or a thousand of us in [jail], we will pay for this. What makes us sad is that the country is turning into a circus. Tragicomic scenarios are being set forth,” Cingöz said.

Cingöz also argued that the raid on the country's two most valuable media institutes -- and the detention of their heads -- cannot be accepted by any conscience. “We don't want our country to be the one where a fifth grade democracy is applied. We don't want our country to turn into Nazi Germany, communist Russia, Syria or Iran,” Cingöz said, adding that all recent developments show that the country is stepping away from democratic rights, which should not be accepted.

Dumanlı and Karaca were detained on Sunday along with 25 others in a police operation that targeted journalists, TV scriptwriters and former police officers.

Published on Today's Zaman, 16 December 2014, Tuesday