Turkey’s largest newspaper has been taken over by the authorities. On Friday, Turkish police raided the offices of the newspaper Zaman after a court ruling put the newspaper under state control without giving any reason. The next day, as thousands rallied to defend the newspaper, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas; dozens reportedly collapsed after being overcome by the gas. Sunday’s edition of the newspaper featured a new propagandistic, pro-government line, while former Zaman staff launched a new paper of their own. Zaman’s former editor-in-chief Abdülhamit Bilici, who was fired in the takeover, said it was a dark period for Turkey.
Abdülhamit Bilici: “Unfortunately, it has been a habit for the last three, four years that anyone who is speaking against the government policies is facing either court cases or prison or such control by the government. And I think this is a dark period for our country, for our democracy. But I don’t think that this dark period will continue. It cannot be sustained, and it cannot be continued.”