June 1, 2015

European party leader calls on EU to warn Erdoğan over plans to seize Zaman media

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) President Sir Graham Watson has warned EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s alleged plans to seize the Zaman Media Group, one of few independent media outlets in the country.

“As I am sure you are aware, signals from Turkey suggest that President Erdogan is about to seize the only major opposition newspaper, Zaman, which has links to the Gülen movement,” Watson said in a letter to Mogherini, the high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

He also called on Mogherini to intervene to warn Erdoğan against suppression of dissent in this way.

Recalling that Turkey is still officially a candidate for EU membership, he said “such behaviour should not pass without comment.”

A government whistleblower, known on Twitter by the pseudonym Fuat Avni, said on Monday that some 200 people will be detained in a major sweep that has been ordered by the embattled President Erdoğan, who is reportedly furious over the publication by the Cumhuriyet daily of photos of weapons being carried to radical groups in Syria by trucks run by Turkey's intelligence organization.

According to Fuat Avni, the government will detain scores of journalists critical to the government, including Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in chief of Zaman, the country's largest circulated national daily; Bülent Keneş, the editor-in-chief of Today's Zaman; Kerim Balcı, the editor-in-chief of Turkish Review, a bimonthly news magazine; Celil Sağır, the managing editor of Today's Zaman; Faruk Mercan, the Ankara representative of Bugün TV; Adem Yavuz Arslan, the Washington bureau chief for the Bugün newspaper; Nazlı Ilıcak, a veteran columnist at Bugün; Yasemin Çongar, former editor of Taraf daily; Ahmet Altan, former editor-in-chief of Taraf, Emre Uslu, columnist at Today's Zaman, and finally Cumhuriyet's Can Dündar.

The politically-motivated investigations included not only journalists but also the corporate entities of Zaman, Samanyolu and Bugün media outlets.

Published on Today's Zaman, 01 June 2015, Monday