Turkey police raid opposition media with Gulen links

Turkey police raid opposition media with Gulen links

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Turkish police have made at least 23 arrests during raids on a newspaper and TV station with close ties to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.Those detained are accused of forming an illegal organisation and trying to seize control of the state.Mr Gulen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement, is a rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The raids come days after Mr Erdogan pledged a fresh campaign against Mr Gulen’s supporters.Among those arrested are journalists, producers, scriptwriters and a police chief in eastern Turkey.Police attempted to raid the offices of the Zaman newspaper, one of Turkey’s biggest, early on Sunday morning, but a crowd of protesters forced police to turn back before they could make arrests.Staff at the paper also reported on the incident as it happened.
The paper’s editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanli, tweeted a picture of himself at his desk, saying: “Officers [forced]back because of democratic reaction of my friends. I am at my place and wait.”But they returned and arrested him in a second raid in the afternoon.Staff and supporters of the paper held placards and chanted “free
press cannot be silenced” as police raided the building.Mr Dumanli smiled and studied police documents before being led through the newspaper’s headquarters to applause from staff crowded onto balconies.”Let those who have committed a crime be scared,” Mr Dumanli said as he was led away, according to Reuters.”We are not scared.” ‘Disgrace’ The chairman of Samanyolu TV, which also has links to Mr Gulen, was detained in a separate raid in Istanbul.Hidayet Karaca told reporters the operation was “a disgrace for Turkey” before his arrest.”Sadly in 21st Century Turkey this is the treatment they dish out to a media group with tens of television and radio stations, internet media and magazines,” the English edition of Zaman quoted him as saying.Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, called the raids “a coup”.Staff at Zaman had been expecting the raid after details of the swoop
were leaked by a Twitter user known as Fuat Avni, who has previously leaked advance details of police operations.The police operation comes a year after corruption allegations against allies of Mr Erdogan emerged. He said it was a plot orchestrated by Mr Gulen supporters to topple him.Mr Gulen denied this. He has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999.On Friday Mr Edogan vowed to pursue Gulen supporters “in their lairs”. -BBC

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