Mar 28 2018

Turkish state seizes pro-Kurdish newspaper

Turkish authorities took control of a pro-Kurdish newspaper on Wednesday after a police raid on its offices overnight, Kurdish-movement news agency Mesopotamia said.

Special operations police raided the headquarters and printing press of Kurdish-movement newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi (Emancipatory Democracy) in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district just after midnight, the agency said.

They carried out a thorough search of the buildings before lawyers acting on behalf of the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey officially placed the two companies in the hands of the state.

Several employees of both the newspaper and the printing press had also arrested, Mesopotamia said, but it was unclear how many.

It said an administrator had already been sent by the fund to take over the companies.

The paper was launched on Aug. 23, 2016, one week after the closure of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem by court order. Access to the newspaper’s website has been blocked in Turkey multiple times since.

Some 150 media outlets have been closed in Turkey since the failed coup attempt of 2016. Around 100 journalists are jail, more than in any other country, and Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 155th out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.