“Thirty-one people – mostly high-ranked media personnel, directors and producers of popular television serials and police officers – were taken into custody by the police” in different locations across Turkey on 14 December, reports Zaman.
They were charged with “establishing, heading or being a member of a terrorist organisation, fraud and slander”, adds the daily, whose editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanlı, is among those detained, along with Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca.
The daily, close to a religious organisation opposed to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s islamist-conservative regime, and the Samanyolu television station —
are among the media outlets that have been critical of the government for alleged corruption since two major graft probes went public in December of last year. The police operation came just ahead of the first anniversary of the probes of 17 and 25 December 2013. The operation came shortly after Parliament passed a law that enabled prosecutors to detain individuals based on reasonable suspicion.
According to Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar —
yesterday's events leave no doubt about Erdoğan’s steady move towards autocracy, in which there will be no room for critique, dissent or accountability. The raid is, no doubt, a severe blow to what remains of free and independent journalism.
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