Saturday, March 12, 2016

Readers Respond to Turkish Publication Zaman Takeover

Readers Respond to Turkish Publication Zaman Takeover

by Stephen Lendman

Days after Erdogan’s latest assault on press freedom, seizing control of Zaman and its English language Today’s Zaman edition, readership of Turkey’s most popular broadsheet plunged 99% to a tiny fraction of its former circulation.

Perhaps it’s heading for journalism’s trash bin, Zaman readers wanting real news and information, not state-sponsored propaganda.

RT International reported Zaman journalists saying they “feel like captives,” police closely monitoring their activities.

Foreign editor Mustafa Edip Yilmaz told the London Times “(i)t is like the paper died on Friday night (March 5) and was resurrected in a different body on Saturday.”

“Every day we produce editions, and they are not sent to the printing presses. The editorial line, the stories, the pictures, the front page - sometimes they are changed partly, sometimes completely.”

“We feel like captives in our own workplace. We can’t communicate openly with our colleagues when there are police everywhere.” 

“We leave the building the first second after our shifts end. How are we supposed to continue being journalists?”

Editor-in-chief Sevgi Akarcesme explained broadsheet staff were told stories “defam(ing) Turkey,” meaning content critical of regime policies, is unacceptable.

Journalists believe the broadsheet will cease publishing in weeks. Without enough readers, it can’t operate.

Western leaders and supportive media scoundrels remain virtually silent on disappearing press freedom in Turkey.

They continue turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s genocidal war on Turkish Kurds, killing them in Iraq, shelling them cross-border in Syria. Anyone critical of regime policy risks arrest, imprisonment or death. 

Separately, clashes erupted on Friday in Istanbul - police violently dispersing a rally commemorating the anniversary of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan death.

During June 2013 anti-regime protests, he was struck by a police-fired tear gas canister while running an errand for his family.

On March 11, 2014, he died after a 269-day coma. Following his death, protests erupted throughout Turkey, as well as in European, US and Canadian cities.

Erdogan disgracefully claimed he was a “member of a terrorist organization.” Elvan is a martyr, a symbol of Turkish police brutality, the scourge of its entire population, especially Kurds and anyone critical of regime policy.

Dissent under Erdogan is a criminal offense.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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