The government takeover of Today’s Zaman was evidently in response to Erdogan’s perception of the paper as a front for the Gülen movement — a social movement led by the Turkish scholar and preacher Fethullah Gülen that is openly critical of Erdogan’s government.
Reporters Without Borders’ secretary general Christophe Deloire released a scathing statement about the takeover, calling the operation “ideological and unlawful.”
“Erdoğan is now moving from authoritarianism to all-out despotism,” Deloire wrote. “Not content with throwing journalists in prison for ‘supporting terrorism’ or having them sentenced to pay heavy fines for ‘insulting the ‘head of state,’ he is now going further by taking control ofTurkey’s biggest opposition newspaper.”
Many Zaman journalists and spectatorswere live-tweeting the takeover.
Three trustees, all openly supportive of Erdogan, were reportedly appointedt o manage the paper. Turkish police continue to occupy Zaman’s headquarters, and the building’s internet connection has apparently been cut off.