Turkish media say that turkish authorities seized control of two television stations, the 28th of October, that have been critical of the government before an election Sunday,1st of November, as officials expanded a probe of what they allege is a coup plot against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
— Hurriyet Daily News (@HDNER) 28 Octobre 2015
The police arrived about 4 a.m. Wednesday at
— Hurriyet Daily News (@HDNER) 28 Octobre 2015
and Bugun TV television stations’ shared building in Istanbul, breaking chains mounted at the main entrance and using tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered overnight after news of an impending raid.
After a standoff, authorities sealed off the premises and marched into the control room about 4:30 p.m. to take both channels offline during a joint live broadcast.
“KanalTurk and Bugun TV are going dark today, dear viewers,” said Tarik Toros, Bugun’s editor in chief. The screens then went blank.
The moves come just ahead of Sunday’s snap polls—where the president and the government seek to regain the parliamentary majority the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, lost in June elections. Mr. Erdogan’s handpicked successor at the AKP, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, failed to form a coalition government in Turkey’s first hung parliament since 2002, prompting the president to call early elections in a bid to propel his allies back to power.
Mr. Erdogan is seeking to transform the country’s political landscape while opposition parties seek to curb his power, with the political turmoil undermining a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization member grappling with Islamic State attacks, Kurdish insurgents and the Syrian refugee crisis.
Erdogan has been seeking an absolute parliamentary majority to change the constitution and give executive powers to the presidency that have previously been wielded by the prime minister and the government.
However opinion polls suggest an outright majority will again elude his moderately Islamist AK Party on Sunday and that it may have to govern in coalition with one of the secular opposition parties, making it hard for Erdogan to reshape the state to boost his own power.
KanalTurk and Bugun TV, as well as three newspapers and a radio station, are owned by Koza Ipek Holding, which the state accuses of funneling money to an alleged terrorist organization Mr. Gulen leads.
— JamesInTurkey.com (@jamesinturkey) 26 Octobre 2015
An Ankara court on Monday appointed a trustee to take control of the conglomerate, which is based in the capital and has interests in gold mines, energy, media, food, tourism, insurance and education. The move marks the second time the state has seized businesses associated with Mr. Gulen’s network, having taken over Bank Asya right before the June elections after a yearlong campaign to discredit the lender.
Koza Ipek Chairman Akin Ipek called into his television stations on Wednesday, saying the authorities didn’t have evidence or legal grounds to seize his company. He said Koza Ipek would appeal the court’s decision on Monday.
Meanwhile, Turkey is becoming more authoritarian and the independence of the judiciary is being undermined, a leaked EU progress report draft into Ankara has said, according to Reuters.
The rule of law since 2014 has been on a downward trajectory with judges and prosecutors under strong political pressure, the news agency reported after seeing a draft.
Reuters said the report also cited a deterioration in the security situation and an increasing politicisation of the state administration as the ruling party, in power for the last 13 years, tightened its grip.
The annual European Commission report on Turkey, accuses Ankara of backsliding on the rule of law, freedom of expression and judicial independence.
A copy of the draft annual progress report on Turkey’s EU candidacy, cites a severe deterioration in the security situation and an increasing politicization of the state administration as Erdogan’s AK Party, in power for the last 13 years, tightens its grip.
It depicts a court system increasingly under the thumb of the government or subject to undue political duress.
“The situation has been backsliding since 2014,” it said. “The independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers have been considerably undermined and judges and prosecutors have been under strong political pressure.”
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