Days before a national election, Turkish police have forced their way into the offices of an opposition media outlet in a crackdown on companies linked to a U.S.-based cleric and foe of President Tayyip Erdogan. Pavithra George has more.
Turkish police raid media group linked to Erdogan foe
Turkish police break the door to the entrance of Koza Ipek media headquarters – it’s part of a crackdown on companies linked to (cut to >>>) U.S-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, -a critic of President Tayyip Erdogan.
Gulen has lived in self-exile at this compound in Pennsylvania since 1999.
But he remains influential in Turkish politics with Erdogan accusing him of plotting a coup.
Tuesday’s crackdown, just days before a national election, led to brawls and protests against the police…the crowd defiant against what they say was an attempt to silence the media
Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of the Gulen-affiliated Zaman newspaper –
(SOUNDBITE) (English) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ZAMAN NEWSPAPER, ABDULHAMIT BILICI, SAYING:
Coups don’t happen only by tanks, by generals. Now we are witnessing a different coup under civilian umbrella, under a civilian clothing and this will not be acceptable for Turkish people and this will not be acceptable for international friends of Turkey and Turkey is not Syria.”
Authorities say the crackdown on 22 companies owned by Koza Ipek is part of an investigation into alleged financial irregularities, including suspicions that the firm has funded Gulen, whom Erdogan calls a terrorist.
All this —as Turkey, beset by problems at home and on its borders, prepares to head to the polls this Sunday.