Wednesday , August 23 2017
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Country’s largest newspaper seized by Turkish Authority

Turkey: “Today’s Zaman” Saturday edition, printed its entire front page in black with the headline: “Shameful day for free press in Turkey.”

Police used tear gas and water cannon to raid the headquarters of Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper.

Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of Zaman said, “It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government”.

“This is a dark period for our country, our democracy”, he added.

The daily is associated with a movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential political opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Tayyeb Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media. Gulen has denied the allegations.

Robert Pearson, a former US ambassador to Turkey, told Al Jazeera the move to take over the newspaper was not unexpected.

“Mr Erdogan refers to almost anyone who opposes his rule as a terrorist, college professors, journalists anyone who basically disagrees with him,” Pearson said.

“Today’s move by the court paves the way to effectively strangle the remnants of critical journalism in Turkey,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement.