To recall, in March last year, Turkish authorities seized control over the daily newspaper Zaman after the court in Istanbul issued a decision for the Zaman group to be put under surveillance due to, as they claimed, its connection to Fethullah Gülen, and in the end the newspaper was shut down after the coup attempt.
Former columnist of Today’s Zaman and professor at the University of Strasbourg, Samim Akgönül, commented this situation for Fairpress:
In today’s Turkey, the Justice is far from fairness, and completely under the order of the government. There is a rule in minority studies. Groups collaborate to obtain legitimacy. But if it openly obtains the legitimacy (social,
political…) before the other one, the former ally becomes the main enemy. This is exactly what’s happening in Turkey. Among the journalists of Zaman, there are some people known as being close to the Gulen movement, the main ally of the AKP during a decade, but many others have nothing to do with the movement; They are simply democrats and/or liberals. The “justice” is by nature injustice in today’s circumstances.
According to the data of the Committee to Protect Journalists, at the end of 2016 in Turkey there were more than 80 imprisoned journalists. About 200 media and publishing houses were closed down during the state of emergency, which has been ongoing since July last year. In the coup attempt alone, 240 people were killed and more than a thousand were injured. Immediately after the coup, the president and the government pointed the finger of blame at the Gülen movement, despite lack of any evidence for such a claim.
An additional reason for concern regarding freedoms in Turkey is also the referendum of 16 April this year, which supports constitutional changes and even greater authorities of President Erdogan.