الرئيسية / سفارات / Turkey media arrests: Mogherini leads EU criticism

Turkey media arrests: Mogherini leads EU criticism

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Ekrem Dumanli, editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper, waves to staff and supporters, while being arrested by counter-terror police at the newspaper’s headquarters in Istanbul. Zaman’s editor-in-chief waved to staff while being arrested by counter-terror police

Top European Union officials have sharply criticised a mass arrest of media representatives in Turkey.

Foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the commissioner heading EU enlargement talks said the arrests went “against European values”.

At least 24 people were arrested in police raids on a leading newspaper and TV station said to have close links with a US-based cleric.

Those detained are accused of trying to seize control of the state.

The Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV channel are described as close to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement.

A former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Gulen – who lives in self-imposed exile – is accused of running a “parallel state” within Turkey.

‘Incompatible’ with freedom

In a statement, Ms Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said any move towards EU membership depended on “full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights”.

The raids and arrests “are incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy,” the pair said in a statement.

“We expect that the principle of presumption of innocence will prevail and recall the inalienable right for an independent and transparent investigation.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Fethullah Gulen (right)Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Fethullah Gulen were once close allies

The raids come days after Mr Erdogan pledged a fresh campaign against Mr Gulen’s supporters.

Journalists, producers, scriptwriters and an eastern Turkey police chief were all arrested, among them the editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper and the chairman of Samanyolu TV.

Staff at Zaman reported on the incident as police mounted a Sunday morning raid on their offices.

Staff and supporters held placards and chanted “free press cannot be silenced” as police raided the building.

Editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanli smiled and studied police documents before being led through the newspaper’s headquarters to applause from staff crowded onto balconies.

“Let those who have committed a crime be scared. We are not scared,” Mr Dumanli said as he was led into a waiting police car, according to Reuters.Grey line

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