WaPo – ANKARA, Turkey — Police using tear gas and pressured water raided the headquarters of Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper, hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees.
The court decision against the newspaper, which is linked to a U.S.-based cleric who is opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has heightened concerns over deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey and sparked international outrage.
The government accuses the Gulen movement of orchestrating corruption allegations in December 2013 against ministers and people close to Erdogan as a plot to overthrow it. Authorities have since branded the movement a terror organization, although it is not known to have carried out acts of violence.
In October, courts similarly placed four media organizations, owned by a company linked to Gulen under trusteeship, turning them into pro-government outlets.
The U.S.-based watchdog, Freedom House, called on the European Union and the United States to speak out against the move. The EU, in particular, has been accused of keeping mute about human rights abuses and the deteriorating freedoms in Turkey because of the country’s crucial role in curtailing the flow of migrants to Europe.
“Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” – Hugo Black
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