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Turkish gov’t takes control of pro-Kurdish daily, detains 21

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Turkish authorities have taken control of the pro-Kurdish Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper on the grounds that it has links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), detaining 21 people including employees after a police raid on the paper’s offices in the early hours of Wednesday.

The headquarters of Özgürlükçü Demokrasi in the Beyoğlu district of İstanbul and its printing house were raided and searched by police teams upon an order from the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Hüseyin Aykol, who writes for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, told the Bianet news website on Wednesday that the newspaper has been transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) and a trustee appointed.

Özgürlükçü Demokrasi is the successor of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Since the coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken over or closed down hundreds of media outlets in the country including Turkey’s best-selling newspaper, Zaman, and has jailed around 200 journalists due to their critical views.

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