EU Slams Turkey over Media Arrests

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | December 15, 2014, Monday // 08:56| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: EU Slams Turkey over Media Arrests Fethullah Gulen supporter surround Ekrem Dumanli (C), chief editor of Zaman newspapers, after Turkish plain-clothed police officers detain him as a part of a Turkish police operation targeting the media close to the Fethullah Gulen, in Istanbul, Turkey 14

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and other officials have harshly criticized Turkey over its move to arrest a number of people working for leading media outlets.

The police raids and arrests are "incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy," Both Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn are quoted by the BBC as saying in a statement.

Police detained on Sunday up to thirty-two people working for Samanyolu TV and the newspaper Zaman, both related to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who has had a feud with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the past years. Those arrested include "police officers", Zaman reports.

Gulen, who has lived in the US since 1999 in self-imposed exile, is often blamed by Erdogan for driving a "parallel state" plot.

The two dozen detained, who include Zaman's Editor-in-Chief, are accused of trying to seize control of the state.

A crowd of supporters and followers of Gulen's Hizmet movement had surrounded the media building to show support for the detained staff.

The opposition has fervently reacted to the raids, with Kemal Kilicradoglu, the main opposition party CHP's Chairman, describing them as "a coup".

Today's Zaman, the English-language website of Zaman, has called them "a government-orchestrated crackdown on independent critical media outlets."

It points out that the operation came in the eve of the first anniversary of the December 17 and 25 graft probes targeting a number of high-profile officials within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan has often thrown the blame for the probe on Gulen and his supporters.

Zaman released a statement in seven languages condemning the event and declaring Sunday was "an extremely sad day for Turkish democracy and freedom of the press."

The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office however has says in a statement that the detentions had been ordered "to take their testimonies on charges of founding and directing an armed terror organization, being a member of this organization and engaging in forgery and slander."

State authorities give in a list the names of eleven people taken into custody, against the backdrop of reports by the semi-official Anadolu agency putting the number at 32.

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Tags: turkey, EU, Federica Mogherini, Johannes Hahn, Fethullah Gulen, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Zaman, Samanyolu TV, Kemal K?l?cdaroglu, CHP, AKP
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