Backed by a court order, the Turkish authorities moved on Friday to seize Zaman, the country’s most widely circulated newspaper, in the latest crackdown by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on freedom of the press.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” 1 John 2:18 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: People have long wondered if Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the Antichrist. While the verdict is still out on that possibility, one thing we now know about him for sure after the seizure of Turkey’s largest newspaper, Zaman. He’s a power-hungry dictator in the mold of Adolf Hitler. See photo below for the very uncanny resemblance he has to the Nazi leader. Click here to read what Erdogan had to say about Nazi Germany and Turkey.
The seizing of the newspaper also highlighted the government’s building campaign against those it perceives to be its two greatest enemies: opposition journalists and the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric affiliated with the newspaper who lives in exile in Pennsylvania. Mr. Gulen was once an ally of Mr. Erdogan’s but is now a bitter enemy.
As news of the takeover became public Friday afternoon, supporters began gathering in front of the newspaper’s offices in Istanbul, and employees locked a door to the building. In a live-stream broadcast on the newspaper’s website, supporters were seen chanting, “Free press cannot be silenced.” Some carried Turkish flags and banners emblazoned with, “Do not touch my newspaper.” Columnists from the paper were also seen addressing the crowd.
Later Friday night, Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd and forcibly enter the building.
“We are going through the darkest and gloomiest days in terms of freedom of the press, which is a major benchmark for democracy and the rule of law,” read a statement issued by the editors of Today’s Zaman, an English-language sister publication to Zaman. “Intellectuals, businesspeople, celebrities, civil society organizations, media organizations and journalists are being silenced via threats and blackmail.”
The move to seize Zaman and put it under the administration of a court-appointed panel of trustees emphasized what critics say is a rapid deterioration of free-speech rights under the Islamist government of Mr. Erdogan, who was prime minister for more than a decade before being elected president in 2014.
The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, said in a statement on Friday, “Rather than taking aggressive action to undermine the newspapers, Turkish authorities should be fulfilling their constitutional obligation to defend press freedom and rights of the journalists.”
The crackdown on expression comes amid a growing sense that Turkey, once seen as a bastion of stability in a hostile region, is being enveloped by instability.