Zaman, Turkey’s largest-circulation opposition newspaper has drastically changed its editorial tone.
Since an Istanbul court ordered the management of the newspaper to be taken over by appointed trustees, it has adopted a pro-government line in its first edition. The Feza media group, which includes Zaman and Cihan news agency have been accused of acting upon orders from what it called the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” praising the group and helping it achieve its goals in its publications.
“If anyone was wondering if there were going to be serious changes to the tone or editorial stance of Zaman, well they got their answer on Sunday morning,” Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom said.
“This used to be an opposition paper but Sunday’s edition carried pro-government stories across its front page.”
Zaman’s online edition had also been suspended, with a message that read: “We will provide you, our readers, with a better quality and more objective service as soon as possible.”
The English-language version Today’s Zaman, which had featured the takeover by government officials has not been updated since Saturday.
Police stormed the Zaman building on Friday to enforce the court decision to put it and its associated outlets under trustee management.
Employees returned to the newsroom on Saturday to work under new administration. However, Abdulhamit Bilici, Zaman’s editor-in-chief, and Bulent Kenes, a columnist, were fired and escorted from the premises, said Sevgi Akarcesme, top editor at Today’s Zaman.
Rights groups and European officials have criticised the takeover, saying it infringed on press freedom in Turkey, an EU candidate country.