Turkey’s state-run news agency cancels subscription services of gov’t-critical daily

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A person holds the latest copy of opposition daily newspaper Sözcü bearing a headline reading " May 19 Freedom of Press special edition" on a blank page on May 20, 2017 in Istanbul. Turkish authorities targeted on May 19, 2017 opposition daily Sozcu, seeking the arrest of the owner and detaining two employees as the crackdown on opposition media widened. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency has canceled subscription services paid for by the Sözcü daily, a newspaper that is critical of the government, after the latter harshly criticized the agency’s reporting on prison sentences handed down to Sözcü journalists on charges of aiding a terrorist organization.

Sözcü said Anadolu’s English reporting on the Sözcü journalists’ trial had included remarks from “unidentified” witnesses, whereas the reports in Turkish did not.

The agency, on the other hand, said the reporting was based on fact and did not add anything that was not stated in reports in Turkish.

Anadolu said it considered Sözcü’s claims a direct attack on the agency and its Editor-in-Chief Şenol Kazancı, who authorized the agency to cancel Sözcü’s subscription services.

Meanwhile, Sözcü said their reporters were not allowed to attend press conferences held by government officials due to hostility against the independent media, adding that Anadolu’s reports were its only source for informing its audience of comments made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and government officials.

A Turkish court on Dec. 27 convicted six journalists and one other employee of the Sözcü daily of aiding the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt despite its strong denial of any involvement.

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