Mass Arrests of Erdogan Media Critics in Turkey

Turkey conducted mass raids of journalists and a media organizations today. The targets of the raids were those who support Fethullah Gulea, a U.S. cleric and opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. More from The Guardian here.

Among the 31 people arrested: Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily newspaper. The paper is known for its exposure of government corruption.

Those held include an executive of Samanyolu television, also seen as close to Gulen, as well as a TV director, producers, scriptwriters and some police officers. Arrest warrants were issued for a total of 31 people, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

Among the offenses charged: "Using intimidation and threats" to "form a gang to try and seize state sovereignty", "forgery" and "slander."

I was watching this develop on the newspaper's Twitter feed last night. The raids were expected and 2,000 people gathered outside the Zaman's headquarters in support of the media and particularly the editor. Check out this short video. [More...]

Inside the media offices, support was just as strong.

Here's a You Tube slideshow of images (no sound.)

The European Union criticized the raids. The U.S. State Department had this to say:

We are closely following reports that Turkish police have conducted a series of raids and arrests at locations across Turkey today. It appears that media outlets that have been openly critical of the current Turkish government are among the targets of these actions by Turkish law enforcement. Media freedom, due process, and judicial independence are key elements in every healthy democracy and are enshrined in the Turkish constitution. As Turkey’s friend and ally, we urge the Turkish authorities to ensure their actions do not violate these core values and Turkey's own democratic foundations.

The raids were leaked on Twitter by a whistleblower named Fuatavni.

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    Just one question (none / 0) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 07:17:50 PM EST
    possibly off topic, but I don't think so.

    Is there a country out there led by a government that actually puts all its efforts into trying to improve the lives, futures, and, security of its citizens?

    And, if so, since I don't travel much out of the States any more, could someone calculate for me how much a one-way flight might cost?

    Like I said, this post may be off topic, and, possibly half snark, but, I always felt that Turkey was one of the few bright spots in that part of the world. At least it was when it had a secular government.

    For secular people it was (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:39:21 AM EST
    For religious people it was not so friendly in the past.  Not that long ago, women who wore scarves were prohibited from going to school or into a government building.  In a country that is like 90% Muslim.  And I don't have any publishable source for this but I got the impression that criticizing Ataturk was politically dangerous.  Now it's Erdogan.  Same story different side.  First you were d@mned if you do, now you're d@mned if you don't.

    Maybe Germany?  They're the one country I can think of that has collectively rejected their militant wing.  Canada?

    Turkey is a lovely country.  My brother in law is Turkish, and my one trip to visit put Turkey firmly near the top of my "coolest places" list.  There is some concern right now that when he takes his sons to see his family they may not make it back to the states.  Not all the people getting arrested are strangers.


    Turkey has some cool geological features (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 10:25:41 PM EST
    I've wanted to see since I was a kid and saw the photos in Life magazine.

    This is depressng (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 14, 2014 at 08:58:04 PM EST
    it seems we usually hear Turkey the place where this stuff doesn't usually happen.  Don't we?  Maybe I'm wrong.

    Not lately (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CST on Mon Dec 15, 2014 at 09:48:21 AM EST
    There were massive protests there a little over a year ago, and this new crackdown is believed to be in retaliation for the leaking of information that led to the corruption scandal that happened last December.  Erdogan also "shut down Twitter" in March.  If it walks like a dictator and talks like a dictator, pretty soon it's gonna start arresting people like a dictator.

    Turkey seemed quite determinedly secular, (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 10:35:17 PM EST
    but that was before some idiot invaded their (also secular) southern neighbor, Iraq.