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Journalist parts ways with pro-gov’t Hürriyet, citing censorship efforts

A woman waits near the gate of the Hurriyet newspaper's headquarters at the Dogan media group complex in Istanbul on March 22, 2018. A top Turkish businessman with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to buy Turkey's largest media holding, a statement said on March 22, raising fears of a new tightening of government control on the press. Dogan Holding said in a statement that talks had begun on the sale of Dogan Media Group to the Demiroren Group of magnate Erdogan Demiroren for around $1 billion (810 million euros). / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Ayşe Baykal, who used to write for the Internet edition of the pro-government Hürriyet daily, announced on Monday that she had parted ways with the daily because she had recently been facing censorship efforts.

Writing from her Twitter account, Baykal said she made the decision to quit because she cannot fight censorship, which she said she was having difficulty understanding.

“I apologize to you because I won’t be able to fight against it [censorship]. I don’t want to lose my respect in either myself or in you. I just want you to know that I wrote every single line of my articles with great enthusiasm and did not care about any voice other than that of my conscience,” wrote the journalist.

When Baykal was hired by Hürriyet four years ago, it came as a surprise to many because it was unthinkable for a headscarf-wearing journalist to work at Hürriyet, which in the past had adopted a harsh stance against headscarf freedom in Turkey.

Hürriyet was known as the flagship newspaper of the Doğan Media Group, which was the largest and most influential media group in Turkey until recently.

The Doğan Media Group was sold to the Demirören Group in March. Many interpreted this development as the final nail in the coffin of press freedom in Turkey as the Demirören Group is known to be close to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and its chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The 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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