November 6, 2015

Whistleblower claims Erdoğan ordered seizure of media close to Gülen movement

Turkish whistleblower Fuat Avni has claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the appointment of trustees to seize media outlets close to the Gülen movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The whistleblower stated that Erdoğan is planning to implement all his “plots” against the critical media before losing the “virtual power” he acquired following Sunday's snap election that brought a landslide victory to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) he co-founded.

“They want to finish the Cemaat [the movement's] media immediately and then move on to other media [outlets that are critical of government]. He [Erdoğan] ordered the appointment of trustees to the Samanyolu Group and the Zaman daily. They are next,” he tweeted on Thursday.

He added that a trustee is to be appointed to Kaynak Holding, which is also close to the movement.

Avni's claims come shortly after partisan trustees were appointed to take over the management of Koza İpek Holding, which also owns some critical media outlets, based on a controversial court order.

The corporate headquarters of Koza İpek Holding, which owns five critical media outlets, were raided by riot police last week, who used pepper spray as they entered the building to serve the holding with what opposition voices have said is an unlawful decision to take over company management in order to silence the free media less than a week before the Nov. 1 general election.

Turkey's remaining media outlets that are critical and independent of the government line are also under the risk of unlawful seizure. Just like Koza İpek, the Doğan and Feza media groups are facing anti-terror probes through government-backed judicial investigations.

Many in Turkey are concerned that the government crackdown on critical and independent media has reached such a point that takeovers will soon engulf other media groups. Government whistleblower Avni claimed back in August that Koza İpek and later the Aydın Doğan media group would be seized by the government.

Published on Today's Zaman, 6 November 2015, Friday