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Turkish police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon against protestors outside the offices of a national newspaper in Istanbul. The demonstrators were protesting against the takeover of a private newspaper by the Turkish government. Turkish authorities seized control of the company that owns Turkey's best-selling newspaper Zaman. The paper was once a supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but then became one of his fiercest critics. Authorities say Zaman has links to the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government says plotted a coup to oust President Erdogan. Commentators say it is another blow for freedom in Turkey.



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The takeover of Zaman by the Turkish government has sparked concerns in Europe about Turkey's readiness to join the European Union. European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said the latest developments jeopardised recent progress made by Turkey. The chairman of Germany's foreign affairs committee said, "the violent action against a critical newspaper" and "the fact that the government takes over the whole paper is a severe blow…against the freedom of press". The editor-in-chief of Zaman's English newspaper lamented: "Our [final] headline is about us again, and that should give an idea about the kind of democracy in the country. There's no rule of law left in Turkey."

Sources:

  • http://news.sky.com/story/1654121/paper-takeover-protesters-tear-gassed-in-turkey
  • http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-turkey-zaman-newspaper-takeover-20160305-story.html
  • http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/police-disperse-supporters-of-zaman-media-group.aspx?pageID=238&nid=96076

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