October 27, 2015

ALDE president says Turkey has crossed danger line over seizure decision against Koza İpek Holding

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) President Sir Graham Watson has reacted to a board of trustees being appointed to take over the administration of Koza İpek Holding and its companies, including its media group, ahead of upcoming elections, saying Turkey has crossed the danger line.

The Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled on Monday for the takeover of the administration of the holding's 22 companies, including two television stations and two newspapers. Police officials arrived at Koza İpek Holding headquarters on Tuesday to formally notify the executive board of the holding that it had been replaced with a board of trustees appointed on Monday.

''The move yesterday by Turkey's government to seize assets and control of an important media group in the run-up to the election shows that Turkey has crossed the danger line,” Sir Graham said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The ALDE president also underlined the fact that critical media outlets are being silenced in Turkey with less than a week to go to elections.

''Independent journalists, publications and broadcasters have been picked off one by one. The international community must make its voice heard in protest against the creeping authoritarianism of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's Turkey,” he stated.

The decision to place media outlets owned by Koza İpek, which happen to be critical of the government, under the administration of a trustee board just days before the Nov. 1 parliamentary election raises questions as to whether the upcoming election in Turkey will be free and fair. The appointment of a board of trustees to take over management of Koza İpek Holding and its companies is widely seen as the latest example of a politically motivated act against both the private business sector and the independent media by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Publıshed on Today's Zaman, 27 October 2015, Tuesday