Ankara attacks anti-government paper

EU representatives have criticised the takeover of the Turkish opposition paper Zaman. The daily was raided by the police and put under state control on Friday. But criticism of Ankara has been far too mild, most commentators concur.

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La Croix (FR) /

Turkey need not be afraid of the EU

The EU is weakening its position with its spineless attitude towards Ankara, the Catholic daily La Croix believes:

“The European Union wants to stop the flow of refugees, and for that reason it is keeping a low profile in response to what looks very much like a provocation. On Saturday its diplomatic service limited itself to reminding Turkey of its duties regarding the freedom of expression and the judicial procedures that must be adhered to by a country seeking to join the Union. Such a wishy-washy message is a damaging show of weakness at the start of a round of negotiations with a partner whose interests are often hard to determine, for example in its approach to the Syria crisis or the fight against the IS.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Europe's cowardly stance vis-à-vis the sultan

The centre-left daily De Morgen criticises Europe's silence after the Turkish government's attack on oppositional newspaper Zaman:

“Press freedom? Je suis Zaman! Not now! The goal now is to stop the exodus of refugees. The EU's cowardly stance vis-à-vis Turkey's anti-democratic government shows how fragile the divided Union has become since the refugee crisis. Because we Europeans are proving incapable of displaying solidarity and distributing the burden of this international crisis fairly, we are dependent on the good will of an authoritarian regime on the EU's outer border. And freedom of opinion is just one of the basic rights which is being trampled underfoot in Turkey. The country is changing from a secular state into an authoritarian regime led by a sultan. Zaman seems to be a test for us Europeans. If the Turks were wondering how many values we are ready to give up in exchange for fewer refugees, Ankara now has the answer.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Erdoğan taking the law into his own hands

The takeover of Zaman newspaper shows once again how authoritarian the Turkish state is becoming, writes the centre-left daily Der Standard:

“A unique characteristic of the Turkish leadership is the paternalistic way in which [President] Erdoğan, the guardian of the nation, divides everything that happens in Turkish society into wrong and right. In such an environment anti-government journalism doesn't have it easy. And when the constitutional court comes to its aid - as was the case with the two Cumhuriyet journalists who were released after three months in jail a week ago - then Erdoğan simply declares that in his eyes the judges' ruling isn't valid. … In response to global criticism the Turkish government assures the world that the affair was a legal - and by no means a political! - affair. I am the law - that's the way Erdoğan wants it to be.”

Sabah (TR) /

Strike against Zaman long overdue

Zaman newspaper has close ties to the Islamic Gülen movement, which has been declared a terrorist organisation in Turkey. This community has infiltrated the state and must be fought tooth and nail, the pro-government daily Sabah comments:

“The last step in this fight is the takeover of Zaman newspaper. In fact it should have happened long ago. The reason it didn't is that the state organs lack coordination in their fight against these parallel structures. If [President] Erdoğan had not been left alone in his fight against them, the situation would be entirely different now. If all the pillars supporting these parallel structures in the media, industry, the bureaucracy and internationally had been destroyed, this network and all the elements that make it up would have been destroyed long ago.”