Turkish authorities have seized an opposition news agency, just days after storming the offices of the country's bestselling newspaper, in another blow to freedom of speech.
Merely hours after the EU and Turkey agreed the outlines of a grand bargain including more money to tackle the refugee crisis, the agency said an Istanbul court would appoint an administrator for Cihan news agency.
A state prosecutor made the request and the decision comes just days after the headquarters of Zaman newspaper was raided by police officers using tear gas and water cannon on Friday night.
Zaman was seized by authorities on Friday after a court order to appoint trustees and its editor-in-chief as well as its chief columnist were soon sacked.
Yavuz Baydar, founding member of the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), described it as a "nail in the coffin of journalism in Turkey", The Guardian reported.
"[Cihan] was known for independently monitoring each and every election in Turkey. The real effects of its closure cannot yet be understood, neither by the local nor by the global public.”Despite such actions, the EU issued weak condemnations of Turkey and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Donald Tusk made a veiled reference to Zaman by asserting the importance of free speech.
Both Cihan and Zaman are part of the Feza Gazetecilik media company and are linked to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric and arch-foe of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president. It has been reported the same trustees have been appointed for Cihan as Zaman.
Mr Gulen, the leader of the Hizmet "service" movement, is accused of leading a "parallel state" and acting against the government. He denies the accusations.
While some critics question the movement's motives, Gulen supporters say they promote peace and tolerant Islam. Until 2013, the movement and its allies helped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by Mr Erdogan stay in power.
Once allies, the two men's relationship deteriorated after disagreement on issues including Turkey's Kurds and the government's handling of the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013.
Mr Erdogan and his government moved to shut down cramming schools where pupils seek extra help to pass university exams in 2013 while Gulen supporters are accused of launching corruption investigations into government ministers in December of the same year in retaliation.
The raid on Zaman is the latest in the long-running feud. Thousands of police officers and members of the judiciary have been sacked, accused of having links to the Hizmet movement while the government launched a similar raid late year on Koza Ipek holding, another media company.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said they were concerned by the take over of Feza in a letter to Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister.
"We are concerned that this takeover, if not reversed on appeal, will send a chilling message to Turkey's remaining independent and critical journalists."Joel Simon, CPJ executive director, urged Mr Davutoglu to "fulfill your commitment to support press freedom" and denounced the government's claims that it was not involved.
"'Our government has no bearing in this,' you said, as reported by Hurriyet Daily News. With all due respect, this account is not credible; the zealous conduct of at least two government agencies--the prosecutor's office and the police - suggests the takeover was politicized.Published on The Telegraph, 8 March 2016, Tuesday
"Prosecutors undertook the judicial proceedings against Feza media group without any lawyer for the company present in court to dispute the allegations. Police then imposed the ruling with unnecessary brutality."