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State-owned TRT to take over former Zaman building

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The building that served as the headquarters of the Zaman newspaper, along with Today’s Zaman, the Cihan news agency and other media outlets of the Feza Media Group, in the Yenibosna neighborhood of İstanbul will soon be used by the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) as an office.

According to the Medyaradar.net news portal, TRT General Manager Şenol Göka, along with other officials, recently visited the Zaman building, which was taken over by the government as part of closures and operations targeting the media after a failed coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey.

Göka said the Zaman building would be suitable for TRT’s TV operations. Medyaradar reported that all facilities of the Feza Media Group – including Samanyolu TV and İpek Media, also taken over by the government — would be transferred to TRT.

On March 4, police raided the headquarters of Zaman, Turkey’s highest circulating newspaper, after it used tear gas, plastic bullets and water cannons on hundreds of readers gathered outside the Zaman building and enforced a court-ordered seizure that appointed trustees over the Feza Media Group, which includes the Zaman newspaper, Today’s Zaman and the Cihan news agency, amid increasing pressure on critical media groups by the government.

Scores of former Zaman employees were detained over suspected links to US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the failed coup attempt in July.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed some 240 people and wounded a thousand others. While the government accuses Gülen of engineering the putsch, he has repeatedly denied such claims, condemning any intervention into democratically elected governments.

The accusations against Gülen are nothing new. When the government seized the Zaman newspaper in March over alleged links to Gülen, it changed its editorial policy into one strongly supporting the government.

More than 80,000 people have been purged from within public institutions, while over 40,000 people have been detained over alleged links to Gülen and his teachings since July 15. Meanwhile, some 20,000 people are under arrest pending trial.

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