Turkey Seizes Media Outlets Critical of Government
In response to the Turkish government’s takeover of Koza İpek Holding, a company that owns media outlets critical of the government and that is now the target of a politicized investigation into terror financing, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The government’s seizure of Koza İpek undermines the fairness of the November 1 parliamentary elections,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “With the government yet to present credible evidence of wrongdoing by Koza İpek, the takeover of the company gives every indication of being politically motivated. The appointment of managers from pro-government media outlets to head Koza İpek’s media arm makes clear that the goal is control of public debate. The EU and the U.S. have a responsibility to speak out against this act of censorship.”
Koza İpek Holding, one of Turkey’s largest companies, owns the Kanaltürk and Bugün TV channels and the daily Bugün. In September, authorities raided its offices on suspicion of engagement in “terror financing” related to the company’s support for Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic preacher formerly allied with the government. The government claims the Gülen movement is a terrorist organization.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.