An İstanbul court has appointed trustees to take over management of Zaman newspaper, one of the few critical media voices left in Turkey amid mounting political pressure, Today’s Zaman reported on Friday.
The decision was issued by the İstanbul Sixth Criminal Court of Peace at the request of İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, state news agency Anadolu reported.
A crowd of Zaman and Today’s Zaman journalists, readers and supporters gathered outside Zaman’s headquarters as court-appointed trustees were expected.
“Today, we are experiencing a shameful day for media freedom in Turkey. Our media institutions are being seized,” Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Sevgi Akarçeşme said as she addressed the crowd.
“As of today, the Constitution has been suspended,” she said, referencing to the fact that the Turkish Constitution forbids seizure of printing houses and press equipment.
Şahin Alpay, a veteran political expert and a columnist of both Zaman and Today’s Zaman, lamented that Turkey is having a “dark day” when one of the most prominent media outlets of Turkey is being confiscated at the order of a political leader.
“It is utterly saddening, particularly for people of my generation, that Turkey is turned into a third-world dictatorship,” Alpay said.