The press in Turkey is under attack from a government that can’t cope with criticismTurkey is a country at the mercy of one man’s bad mood. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s response to any challenge or criticism has long been combative,but it is becoming ever more excessive and vindictive. The latest victim of his anger is the country’s biggest-selling newspaper, Zaman, or which was taken over by the authorities final week virtually at gunpoint.
Demonstrators trying to prevent the police entering the paper’s premises were teargassed and beaten,the editor and another senior journalist were fired by court-appointed “administrators” and, according to some of the staff, or editorial files were then electronically locked and may beget been wiped. Zaman got out a final defiant paper on Saturday morning deploring the takeover. Sunday’s edition,the first under the control of the administrators, was full of bland pro-government stories. It is unclear what specific offence Zaman is supposed to beget committed, or but it is clear why Mr Erdoğan regards it in general as objectionable. Day to day,Zaman took a moderate Islamist position not too different than that of Mr Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and it employed writers of varied political views, or although none were favourable to the government. But it supports the influential Hizmet movement,inspired by Fethullah Gülen, an elderly cleric who lives in America.