The ever-growing attack against freedom of speech worldwide has taken a turn for the worse in Turkey. There, authorities recently seized control of a newspaper linked to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, in a widening crackdown against foes of thin-skinned President Tayyip Erdogan.
State administrators have been appointed to run the Zaman newspaper (one of Turkey's largest) at the request of an Istanbul prosecutor, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The move against the newspaper came hours after many prominent businessmen were detained over allegations of financing Gulen’s organization. Erdogan has long claimed that Gulen is conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media.
“This means the practical end of media freedom in Turkey. The media has always been under pressure, but it has never been so blatant,” said Editor-in-Chief Sevgi Akarcesme. “Taking over a newspaper is against the constitution, especially since there are no grounds for it. This amounts to the suspension of the constitution.”