Hours after a Turkish court ruled in favour of a government takeover, police were clearing the crowds that gathered outside Zaman newspaper headquarters with tear gas and rubber bullets. Despite the building being raided on Friday, the journalists inside managed to print the Saturday issue with the headline:”The Constitution is suspended”, referring to its aspects which prohibit government seizure of printing houses.
Zaman is one of the few media outlets in Turkey which reportedly opposes the government. It is also affiliated with The Hizmet Movement, which the Turkish government considers a terrorist organization, claiming it is planning an overthrow and that it has ties to the PKK.
The court prosecutor used these arguments to justify the takeover, the movement, however, states its objectives as primarily humanitarian, promoting tolerance and altruism. It also takes a particular interest in education, allowing Turkish businessmen proliferate.
Though, in 1999 a video came to light which allegedly shows Fethullah Gulen, whose Islamic teachings the movement is based upon, encouraging members to secretly infiltrate every aspect of the ‘system’.
The organization Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey in its World Press Freedom Index at 149th out of 180 countries. While the government claims it to have one of the most free press in the world it currently has at least 30 locked up journalists.