News / Europe

    Violent Clash in Istanbul at Newspaper Offices

    Riot police use tear gas and water cannons against people gathered in support of Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper Zaman at its headquarters in Istanbul, early Saturday, March 5, 2016. The police raid came hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees on Friday. The move against the paper, which is linked to an opposition cleric, heightened concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in the country.
    Riot police use tear gas and water cannons against people gathered in support of Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper Zaman at its headquarters in Istanbul, early Saturday, March 5, 2016. The police raid came hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees on Friday. The move against the paper, which is linked to an opposition cleric, heightened concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in the country.
    VOA News

    Turkish police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters trying to resist a takeover of the country's biggest newspaper, seized by authorities in a crackdown on opposition media linked to a religious group whose leader lives in exile in the United States.

    Police confronted around 500 protesters Saturday outside the Istanbul offices of Zaman, Turkey's largest-circulation daily.

    Demonstrators chanted "free media cannot be silenced" as police closed in, spraying tear gas and firing rubber bullets at the demonstrators, many of whom were women.

    Turkish Authorities Seize Newspaper Close to Cleric Guleni
    X
    March 05, 2016 2:28 PM
    Police in Turkey have used tear gas and water cannons against a crowd of protesters outside the headquarters of a major newspaper after authorities raided the facility


    The police action began Friday, when helmeted officers used powerful streams of water and clouds of tear gas to push demonstrators away from the newspaper's headquarters, then cut through a metal fence to occupy the building and install court-appointed trustees.

    Zaman's chief editor, Abdulhamit Bilici, addressing his staff before police stormed in, called Friday "a black day for democracy" in Turkey. Media-rights groups have denounced the crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government

    The crackdown, which also affected the English-language newspaper Today's Zaman, was the latest in a series of actions against Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, now a U.S. resident, whom the Ankara government accuses of treason.

    Conspiracy accusations

    Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media. Gulen denies the charges. The two men were allies until police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption probe into Erdogan's inner circle in 2013.

    FILE - Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
    FILE - Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

    Zaman is Turkey's biggest-selling newspaper with a circulation of 650,000, according to media-sector monitor MedyaTava website.

    EU stance

    "Zaman Media Group being silenced in Turkey. Crackdown on press freedom continues sadly," Kati Piri, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, said in a tweet.

    The EU is accused of turning a blind eye to Turkey's human rights breaches, including the deaths of hundreds of civilians during security operations against Kurdish militants, because it needs Turkey's help curbing the flow of migrants.

    The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists spoke out against Friday's action. The head of the rights group, Joel Simon, said "Turkish authorities should be fulfilling their constitutional obligation to defend press freedom" rather than undermining opposition media with aggressive action.

    CPJ has reported that Turkey is one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, with government officials taking advantage of laws that can be broadly interpreted to imprison journalists on suspicion of espionage, conspiracy, or defaming the government.

    The crackdown on Zaman comes at an already worrying time for press freedom in Turkey.

    Thousands of people gather in solidarity outside Zaman newspaper in Istanbul on March 4, 2016, after a local court ordered that Turkey's largest-circulation, opposition newspaper, which is linked to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, be placed under the management of trustees — a move that heightens concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey.
    Thousands of people gather in solidarity outside Zaman newspaper in Istanbul on March 4, 2016, after a local court ordered that Turkey's largest-circulation, opposition newspaper, which is linked to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, be placed under the management of trustees — a move that heightens concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey.

    Journalists facing potential life sentences

    Two prominent journalists from the pro-opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper are facing potential life sentences on charges of endangering state security for publishing material that purports to show intelligence officials trucking arms to Syria.

    Authorities have seized and shut down opposition media outlets associated with the Gulen movement before. The state deposit insurance fund said this past week an Islamic bank founded by Gulen followers might be liquidated within months.

    The Zaman takeover came hours after police detained businessmen over allegations of financing what prosecutors described as a "Gulenist terror group," Anadolu said.

    Memduh Boydak, chief executive of furniture-to-cables conglomerate Boydak Holding, as well as the group's chairman Haci Boydak and two board members, were taken into custody.

    Nobody from the company, based in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, was available to comment.

    Because of Turkey's geographical position as a bridge between East and West, and as a member of NATO, it has been a valuable ally to the United States and Europe on issues such as the civil war in Syria and the tide of refugees flowing west from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Critics of Turkey's government say the nation's value as an ally keeps Western nations from protesting too loudly about the Ankara's human rights record.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John from: New York
    March 05, 2016 11:49 AM
    Kudos to the VoA. Democracy in Turkey is trumped by Erdogan's government. But European and American governments are looking other way so Turkey does not exacerbate issue with Syria.
    I would expect major western press to jump on the Turkey handling of the democracy as well. Maybe american press not so independent of the US government viewpoint.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora