Turkey’s pro-gov’t daily targets Doğan media, suggest gov’t seizure of Hürriyet

The pro-government Türkiye daily and its columnists targeted the Doğan media group on Wednesday and suggested that the government seize its largest media outlet, the Hürriyet daily, by appointing trustees to its administration.

Türkiye daily columnists Nuri Elibol, Batuhan Yaşar and Cem Küçük targeted Doğan, claiming that Ahmet Hakan Coşkun, a Hürriyet columnist, had started attacking İhlas Holding, which owns Türkiye.

Türkiye’s Twitter account also posted tweets targeting the Doğan group and suggested appointing trustees to the Hürriyet administration with the hashtag #HürriyeteKayyum.

Coşkun targeted İhlas Holding CEO Mücahit Ören for not returning money to depositors in İhlas Finans, an Islamic bank owned by İhlas Holding that went bankrupt in 2001, claiming that the Gülen movement caused the bankruptcy.

Türkiye columnist Küçük in his column on Wednesday suggested to the government that an investigation into Aydın Doğan, honorary chairman of Doğan Holding, and the appointment of trustees to Hürriyet not be delayed.

“When the state decides to do it, it will take only two minutes to appoint trustees to Hürriyet and turn Doğan Holding into Boydak Holding [once one of Turkey’s largest holdings that was seized by the government following a failed coup last year and its owners imprisoned over links to the Gülen movement, which accused of being behind the failed coup]. It is not right to delay justice.”

According to recent reports in the Turkish media, nearly 1,000 companies with $12 billion in assets have been transferred to the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) since the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The companies in question were mostly targeted as part of a state crackdown on the Gülen movement. The movement denies any involvement.

Among the seized companies are more than 160 media outlets that used to have editorial policies critical of the government.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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