Turkey government silences critical media before election

Turkish court ordering a government takeover of a holding that houses critical media outlets Mondat resulted in protests for silencing the opposition days before the general elections according to local reports.

Koza-İpek Holding was raided by the police early September with terrorism allegations. The holding owns critical media organs such as Bugün TV, the daily Bugün, Kanaltürk TV and the daily Millet. Koza-İpek and its media organs are accused of allegiance with the alleged terrorist organization FETÖ/PDY (Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure) as it is named in related court documents. The leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) used to had a close relationship with the religious Hizmet Movement led by cleric Fethullah Gülen but the two have been uneasy with each other in recent years and became fierce enemies since the alleged corruption scandal in December 2013; popularly known as the “December 17/25 process.”

The 5th Ankara Penal Court of Peace ordered the seizure of the management of the Holding on Monday; reports say. Protests by employees and supporters have resulted in the police using tear gas during the takeover. The opposition parties of Turkey, foreign officials, the Journalists Union and several press NGOs have protested the action; in consensus of the observation that this is a violation of press freedom.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former adviser and speechwriter; AKP Parliamentary Deputy Aydın Ünal said on live television that other critical media organs’ “turns will come” after the November 1 elections. The deputy said there is “pressure over Turkey” with the claim of “there is pressure against the press” currently, but he promised the voters that they will go after the dailies Sözcü, Cumhuriyet and other critical media after November 1.

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