İndictment against Doğan accepted

The fuel smuggling indictment against suspects including businesspeople Aydın Doğan and his daughter Hanzade Doğan Boyner is accepted by the 1st Istanbul Court of Serious Crimes, according to reports. CPJ has reported the existence of the indictment last week and Doğan Holding has released a statement on March 17 regarding the accusations against them. Another statement arguing the accusations’ validity was released yesterday after the court accepted the indictment. Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that radikal.com.tr, the last stand of the liberal left daily Radikal of the Doğan Media Group after it was stopped being printed, will be shut down by the end of the month.

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Doğan may be the next media victim

Pro -government daily Akşam claimed a Turkish prosecutor is about to go after businesspeople and media owners Aydın Doğan and, his daughter, Hanzade Doğan Boyner with accusations of running a fuel smuggling organization in a story published at the top story of their yesterday’s front page. Though the existence of such an investigation is not official yet, it caused a drop in the shares of the Doğan Holding shares according to Reuters. Doğan Media Group used to be the biggest media owner in the country before they let go some of their media organs to government-friendly businesspeople. Aydın Doğan have a rocky relationship with the ALP government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan throughout the years which can be remembered with the landmarks such as the massive tax fine against the group in 2009, cutting the ribbon together to open the Doğan-Trump partnership Trump Towers in Istanbul in 2012 and the accusations exchanged over a real estate permit issue in İstanbul last year. Turkey government recently made moves against pro-Hizmet Koza İpek Holding and Feza Journalism company through trustees attended by courts and they either shut down the featured media organs or turned them into government propaganda tools which leads to rumors enough to cause worry about whether if Doğan is next or not.

Özgür Gündem & Cumhuriyet may be next to follow Zaman

A “terrorism propaganda” investigation is started against the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem on March 14 and all the “yellow press cards” of the journalists at the daily got cancelled on March 15.

The terrorism propaganda is based on the daily’s headline after the latest suicide bomb attack in Ankara on Sunday. According to Özgür Gündem, Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office believed the headline “Footsteps of the Newroz (traditional spring festival)” was about the bombing.

Özgür Gündem journalists also received SMS from the state on March 15; stating that their yellow press cards are cancelled. The press cards in Turkey are granted by a bureau of the Prime Ministry according to the criteria decided by the state.

Moreover, pro-CHP daily Cumhuriyet, published a column with the byline Cumhuriyet and voiced worries about alleged plans to take over their newspaper. the daily reminded the pro-AKP columnist Ersoy Dede has stated Cumhuriyet will be next after Zaman and they reminded the slander campaign after the Ankara blast. Pro government accounts on twitter and some pro-government news ites and newspapers have claimed the suicde bomber was a Cumhuriyet reporter and the car used in the attack was hidden at Cumhuriyet car park. Cumhuriyet has announced that they never had a reporter with that name and they do not have a car park in Ankara.

Seized critical dailies transferred into propaganda pieces in Turkey

Turkey’s critical daily Zaman got immediately transferred into a propaganda piece for the government following the takeover by a court assigning trustees with the accusation of “terrorist propaganda.” Similar to what happened at the Koza İpek Holding takeover late last year, reports show that the police entered the Zaman building by force, pushed journalists around and the process continued with key journalists being fired and the Zaman‘s Internet archives are feared to be erased. As of Monday afternoon Turkey time, the website of Zaman was currently inaccessible with an under construction note on display.

Zaman‘s Chief Editor Abdülhamit Bilici and Today’s Zaman‘s former Chief Editor Bülent Keneş were the first to be fired by the new management according to reports.

Zaman’s sister publication, English language daily Today’s Zaman‘s website seemed operational at the same hours but Sevgi Akarçeşme, chief editor of the daily, said that as far as she knows the archives of the newspapers are not erased but the trustees have unplugged the servers so no new content may be entered.

Today’s Zaman has a weekend edition that stays at the newsstands for Saturday and Sunday both. Both dailies’ teams have sent the Friday editions early before the trustees arrived with the police. Saturday edition of the Zaman was perceived as a government propaganda organ as many independent observers foreign and domestic. As for Today’s Zaman, Akarçeşme said the trustees censored all the columnists to be featured on the Monday edition so her team removed their names from the newspaper; refusing to work with censorship. She said two more stories were removed from the daily later on Sunday evening before the newspaper went to print.

Akarçeşme said: “The trustees said today: ‘I do not want any story in this newspaper that denigrates Turkey.’ By denigrating Turkey, they mean criticizing [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan.” She also said the trustees threatened the staff: “The trustees say if we write anything critical against the new policy, they would fire us without paying compensation.”

The court order assigned the trustees to the Feza Journalism Group which houses Zaman, Today’s Zaman and Cihan News Agency. Zaman was one of the top selling dailies of the country and Today’s Zaman was one of the two existing English language dailies critical of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Cihan News Agency is the only other news agency in the country big enough to cover the election results live other than state controlled Anatolia Agency.

Follow up: Koza-İpek takeover

The circulation and ratings of the Koza-İpek dailies and televisions dropped significantly after the takeover.

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Daily Bugün’s circulation dropped to around 5000 from the level of nearly 70000 while Bugün TV lost its usual top 3 placement at news’ ratings.

Circulation of seized dailies sinks after trustee appointment

Meanwhile, Diken reported that all the past columnists’ archive of the daily Bugün was deleted from the database.

Nokta editors arrested

Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, chief editor and news editor of the weekly news magazine Nokta, were detained by the police in Istanbul on November 2 and arrested by court the day after for “provoking the people to armed resistance against the government” (Turkish Penal Code TCK 313/1). The offense is punishable by 15 to 20 years jail time if the case makes it to trial with this charge standing and the journalists found guilty.

The court also practiced the Article 100 of the Law of Criminal Procedure for the cause of arrest as it is common with such cases. It is a lengthy article listing the justifications of arrest before trial and allowing arrest for charges such as those against the “national security” and “constitutional order.”

The cover for the November 2 issue of Nokta was first shared on the social media accounts of the magazine on the election night November 1; after it became clear that the Justice and Development Party scored a surprise win and received almost half the vote against expectations. The cover features a daily calendar sheet for November 2, transparent over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s face, and the red line below reads “The beginning of the Turkey civil war.”

According to the documents shared by Nokta, Istanbul Prosecutor Umut Tepe sent an order to the police to detain Çapan and Güven to be questioned about the cover according to Turkish Penal Code 214/1-2 for provoking the people to commit crimes. According to the documents shared by Nokta, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Istanbul also applied to the 5th Istanbul Court of Penal Peace and got a confiscation order for the printed copies of the last issue on November 2. Nokta’s website is also blocked from access in Turkey according a November 3 tweet from their account. Reports say the 5th Ankara Court of Penal Peace ordered the block for noktadergisi.net.

The journalists were detained at their offices on Monday and transferred to the 8th Istanbul Court of Penal Peace on Tuesday with a demand of arrest from Tepe. According to court documents shared by Nokta, Güven and Çapan both denied wrongdoing. They said the cover is about the expected chaos atmosphere in post-election Turkey according to the violent statements from both the government and the opposition; adding that it is not possible to provoke the people to start a civil war with a magazine cover. However the court said both suspects are responsible according to the 11th Article of the Press Law and there is strong suspicion of guilt according to the presented content; arresting the journalists as the details are explained above.

This latest incarnation of the 1980’s legendary weekly news magazine Nokta is a publication known to be close to the Fethullah Gülen.Therefore, Nokta is fiercely against the government and received harsh reactions from the government and the judicial system whether it be raided offices, blocked news, confiscated issues and detained journalists in the past months.

Koza-İpek media staff resists police takeover as broadcasts are stopped

Kanaltürk and Bugün TV broadcasts are stopped today around 4.30 PM local time in Istanbul by the police. The Koza-İpek staff resisted to not to allow the police in the building which resulted in battering and use of tear gas and pressurized water by the authorities as can be seen in this video. Bugün TV continued its broadcast from the control room until the police entered there also and stopped them. Several Koza-İpek staff are battered and/or detained for resisting the police.

Turkish police raid critical media HQ, shut down live broadcast

Bugün TV, Kanaltürk taken off air after İpek Media Group seizure

The timetable of events and more videos according to Bugün can be seen in the story below

Turkish police storm offices of critical media group, fire tear gas, detain journalists