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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora