October 28, 2015

EPP president ’deeply concerned’ over takeover of critical Turkish media group

President of the center-right European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament has denounced the takeover of İpek-Koza holding, noting that free media is key for free and fair elections.

Joseph Daul said in a tweet on Tuesday, hours after Turkish police showed up outside the headquarters of the business group to seize the company, he is "deeply concerned" about the repression of critical media in Turkey. He highlighted that the repression comes before elections scheduled for November 1.

Turkish authorities appointed several trustees to replace the management of İpek-Koza Holding business, which houses media outlets including Bugün TV, the flagship station that has emerged as a main platform for opposition politicians over recent months.

The takeover of the management of Koza İpek Holding's 22 companies, including critical TV stations Bugün TV, Kanaltürk and two newspapers, comes just days before Turkey is set to have a repeat parliamentary election on Nov. 1. The move has intensified concerns about the deteriorating state of freedom of speech and of the media in Turkey.

Many politicians from the EU, along with other international rights groups, denounced the move. Freedom House described the "politically motivated" takeover as an "act of censorship" that aims to control the public debate and stressed that it underminess fairness of polls. A number of US lawmakers also denounced the takeover of İpek Media Group.

"Free media key for free & fair elections," Daul added.

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