On Friday evening, 4 March, Turkey’s Freedom for Journalists Platform (GOP), an umbrella group of journalists’ organisations that includes the Association of European Journalists, issued this statement: “The appointment of trustees for Zaman newspaper, which means its confiscation by the state through the decision of Istanbul’s 6th Public Order and Criminal Court, is a blatant intervention by the government in freedom of press and expression. This is unacceptable in a democracy. It is an attempt to eliminate one more newspaper considered as dissident by the government.
A similiar action took place recently against the media organizations of the Ipek Media Group, whose newspapers and TV stations were also handed over to trustees. Those media were closed and about 500 journalists were dismissed.
The government continue to act with the mentality “you either belong to me or I will make you disappear”.The new method is to silence the media through sending in trustees to take them over.
The government acts at the same time to throw critical journalists and writers into jail on trumped-up charges, and threatens others with court cases and fines. Such acts are not seen in democracies.
Because of all these flaws Turkey is at the bottom of the list of the countries concerning freedom of press and expression. As the Freedom For Journalists Platform, our member organisations urge the government to show respect to democracy, and to freedom of the press and expression.