In the latest of increasing attacks upon Press freedoms in Turkey as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempts to solidify himself as a modern day "father of the Turks" and having unchallenged power, government forces earlier today used tear gas and water cannons against protesters as authorities fenced off and took-over Turkey's largest circulation newspaper, Zaman.
The Istanbul court ordered seizure of Zaman and its affiliates culminates a growing trend by the Turkish government to crack down upon freedom of the press and of social media across Turkey in order to reign in any opposition.
Since leaving the prime minister position in Turkey and ascending to the presidency, Erdogan has mounted a campaign to solidify and to increase his presidential powers. He has been met by opposition within the legislature and within other political and social sectors. Erdogan and the government blame much dissent to his quest for increased powers upon the self-exiled opposition cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in the United States(US) since 1999.
Erdogan has accused the cleric of trying to topple his government. Rights activists within Turkey consider the court ordered take over Zaman as another government action to crack down on the opposition.
Yet, as Turkish forces used tear gas and water cannons on protesters as the court took control of the newspaper and its affiliates, the authorities are confident that their actions will not bring international condemnation because of the expected cooperation Europe is seeking from Turkey on the touchy and the festering migrant crisis. The European Union(EU) holds a summit with Turkey on Monday expecting Turkey to tightened controls on migrants fleeing to Greece and hoping that Turkey receives back migrants deported from the EU.
However, as reported the Associated Press(AP) earlier today, the European Federation of Journalists has warned: "The European Union cannot remain silent to the political seizure of Zaman Newspaper, Today's Zaman daily, and Cihan news agency."
But for now, Turkey - a strategic and large NATO member, continues questionable Press restrictions unafraid of any repercussions since its cooperation is needed on bigger issues, the government appears to falsely believe.