Zaman daily ends print edition in Germany amid threats, financial problems

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"Heartfelt thanks to the Zaman family," said the headline of the Zaman Germany’s lead story in its last print edition.

The Zaman daily, which was Turkey’s largest-circulating newspaper before it was taken over and subsequently closed down by the government in July, printed its last edition in Germany on Wednesday due to growing pressure on its readers that resulted in financial problems affecting the survival of the daily.

“Heartfelt thanks to the Zaman family,” said the headline of the paper’s lead story in its last print edition.

The daily said the closure of Zaman in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey had increased pressure on its readers in Germany, prompting many to cancel their subscriptions.

Zaman had around 30,000 readers in Germany in 2010, dropping to 10,000 after the coup attempt and only 8,000 subscribers as of Nov. 30.

Former editor-in-chief of the daily in Germany Süleyman Bağ said the closure of Zaman in Turkey was another factor contributing to the end of the print edition in Germany because Zaman’s German version had received 70 percent of its content from Zaman in Turkey.

Bağ said there are only seven people left at Zaman’s office in Germany, which had opened in Offenbach in 1990 and was moved to Berlin in 2011.

The Zaman website in Germany is expected to be available until the end of 2016.

The Zaman daily was taken over by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in March and closed down in July as part of an ongoing crackdown on the faith-based Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

The government also closed down hundreds of media organizations, companies and schools which are affiliated with the movement.

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