December 11, 2014

Hundreds on vigil outside Zaman building to protest possible raid

Hundreds of readers thronged outside the headquarters of Feza Media Holding to protest a possible operation against journalists, most of them from Zaman daily, defying what they claim to be the government's increasingly authoritarian practices to silence outspoken media.

Readers gather to show support Zaman daily amid rumors of an upcoming police raid

The news of operation was broke by government whistleblower Fuat Avni, who has an excellent track record of exposing government's impending operations. Avni claimed that the government is getting ready for a sweeping raid to detain at least 150 journalists, including chiefs of Zaman and Today's Zaman dailies, Ekrem Dumanlı and Bülent Keneş.

Chanting slogans, the people protested the government's possible raid, with many vowing to stand on vigil despite the threat of the operation. Dumanlı, with other editors lined up before him, addressed the crowd in a short speech, promising them that no matter what happens, their newspaper will not keep silent.

"Even though everyone is silent, Zaman will not shut up," Dumanlı said amid cheering crowd of Zaman readers. He urged lawyers, prosecutors and bureaucrats to do what they are supposed to do in terms of upholding the rule of law and called on government officials to avoid doing things that should be shameful for them in the future. Vowing that the media cannot be silenced no matter how hard the government cracks down on them, Dumanlı promised to stay strong in the face of pressure.

"These days will pass and history will write you as honorable men and women who came here to speak up on behalf of freedom and democracy," Dumanlı concluded.

Published on Today's Zaman, 11 December 2014, Thursday