Turkish riot police are using tear gas and firing plastic bullets against demonstrators protesting against the government takeover of the country’s main opposition newspaper. Foreign Minister Brende is concerned about the development.
On Friday night police went into action against the demonstrators and then entered the editorial offices of the opposition newspaper Zaman. Around 500 people had gathered outside the premises on Saturday to protest against the takeover.
– We have been keeping an eye on the events in Turkey for a long time and are concerned about the development of press freedom in Turkey. This is the second media group in a short time which has been put under control. The first media group that was the subject of such a takeover was declared bankrupt this week, says Brende.
– We regularly express our concern about the development of the human rights situation in Turkey in our meetings with Turkish officials, says Brende.
Since Friday, there have been large demonstrations after it became known that the newspaper’s editorial staff will be replaced by a guardianship appointed by the state. On Friday afternoon the staff of the newspaper worked feverishly to finish up the last edition of the newspaper before the new management is in place.
The newspaper is accused of having ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s nemesis, the Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today