Court rules media boss Doğan be escorted by police to testify in court

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shaking hands with Doğan Group's owner Aydın Doğan.

An İstanbul court on Wednesday ruled that honorary chairman of the Doğan Media Group Aydın Doğan, who was indicted last year on charges of oil smuggling through Petrol Ofisi (POAŞ), an oil retailer formerly owned by the group’s holding company, be brought to court under police escort to testify.

The court’s decision came shortly after the Hürriyet daily, a part of the Doğan Media Group, came under immense government criticism due to one of its reports last Saturday in which it talked about the relationship between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the Turkish military.

The report, which was written by Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Hande Fırat, was titled “The [military] headquarters is restless,” which meant to say that the General Staff was disturbed about criticism suggesting that it was too close to the AKP government and found it without merit.

The daily received criticism in particular because of its choice of headline as it was reminiscent of the “Young Officers Are Restless” headline that appeared in the Cumhuriyet daily in May 2003 shortly after the AKP came to power as a single party government. The Cumhuriyet’s news report hinted at a military intervention because military officers were uneasy with the practices of the AKP government.

In March 2016, the İstanbul 1st High Criminal Court accepted an 85-page-long indictment, against Doğan, his daughter Hanzade Boyner and chairman of Turkey’s largest private lender, İşbank, Ersin Özince, and 44 other suspects, accusing them of fuel smuggling, tax evasion, organized crime, forgery of documents, violation of anti-smuggling laws and the setting up of a criminal network.

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