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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora