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Pro-gov’t journalist becomes new editor-in-chief of Hürriyet daily

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Turkish journalist Ahmet Hakan Coşkun, who has been criticized for avoiding any sharp criticism of the Turkish government and repeating the government narrative on controversial issues, has become the new editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet daily, according to the newspaper.

Coşkun’s appointment to the top post came following the dismissal of dozens of employees last week from the newspaper, which was last year purchased by the pro-government Demirören Group from the Doğan Media Group.

The decision to fire nearly 50 employees including correspondents, editors and writers from Hürriyet was made by the owners rather than management, and even then-editor-in-chief Vahap Munyar only became aware of it upon a phone call from one of the employees who was dismissed, according to Turkish media reports.

Munyar announced his resignation from the daily after the dismissals.

Coşkun, who comes from a conservative background and used to work for conservative and Islamic-leaning media outlets at the beginning of his journalism career, has been writing columns for Hürriyet for many years, which was once known as the flagship of the Turkish media.

The journalist is accused of acting as a subtle mouthpiece of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and avoiding any direct criticism of it, particularly after he was attacked by four people in front of his house on Oct.1 2015. Coşkun’s nose and ribs were broken, after which he demanded protection, but his request was never processed. Two of the attackers turned out to be members of the AKP Fatih district branch in İstanbul.

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