World Association of News Publishers

"A Dark Day" for Turkish Press Freedom

"A Dark Day" for Turkish Press Freedom

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Turkish media organisation İpek Media Group was forcibly put into receivership last night upon the ruling of an Ankara court that ordered trustees be appointed to replace the existing board of directors. It comes as no surprise to those closely watching the deteriorating press freedom situation in Turkey that prominent pro-government supporters have reportedly been selected to take charge of the company.

With elections imminently approaching on 1 November, the Turkish state has continued its now consistent policy of striking out at independent journalism in efforts to silence critical oppostion ahead of the vote.

An Ankara magistrate last night placed Koza İpek Holding, parent company of İpek Media Group, under receivership, ordering that trustees be appointed to replace the existing board of directors.

The decision comes after a September 1 police raid on the offices of Koza İpek Holdings, conducted by Turkey’s Financial Crime Investigation Board (MASAK), that found no evidence of alleged wrongdoing. The raid targeted 23 companies owned by Koza İpek, a corporation linked to the government’s one-time ally Fethullah Gülen, for allegedly “giving financial support to the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and conducting its propaganda.” The head of the company denied the accusations, saying he and his companies were in no way involved in illegal acts.

Last night's decision by the Ankara court is strongly suspected to be a politically motivated follow-up as a result of September's failed investigations.

In response to the incident, WAN-IFRA released the following statement:

"The developments concerning İpek Media Group are very worrying and represent the latest stage in a series of apparantly planned, calculated attempts to seize control of independent media and alternative opinion in Turkey ahead of the important upcoming elections.

We cannot reiterate more clearly the need for independent journalism to be allowed to carry out its essential job without fear of attack or reprisal - from the state, criminal elements, terrorists, or whomsoever.

This latest attack on the freedom of the press shows clearly that the respect for legal norms is rapidly dissolving, and that the issue now goes far beyond the right to freedom of expression. The actions of the state in repressing critical opinion strikes at the very heart of what it is to be a democratic country. While the lack of journalistic freedoms in Turkey has preoccupied and deeply concerned our organisation and its members for a significant amount of time, we are now witnessing the general degredation of broader societal freedoms, a warning that the press in Turkey has been ringing the alarm bell over for a number of years.

We call on all those with an interest in preserving democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey to speak out on these recent developments and to demand greater respect for independent journalism, opposing views and critical analysis - all vital ingredients for a healthy democracy.

We appeal to European and global partners of Turkey not to overlook the fundamental and vital need for free speech and freedom of the press in the context of current regional turbulences.

Freedom of the press is non-negotiable; once this value is compromised, who knows where the actions of those wishing to control society in their image will take us."


The full story and latest developments from

"Less than a week before the Nov. 1 snap election, the Ankara 5th Criminal Peace Magistrate has placed Koza İpek Holding, parent company of İpek Media Group, under receivership, ordering that trustees be appointed to replace the existing board of directors.

Just days before the November 1st snap election, yet another operation has been launched to intimidate and silence the free and independent İpek Media Group.

When the raid orchestrated through “slander” and “fabrication” failed to reveal anything, when it was found that the accounts of İpek Media Group and its parent company Koza İpek Holding were clean, then a court ruled to appoint a trustee to replace the management of Koza Group and all companies belonging to it.

The former advertising director and the former finance director of the strongly pro-government Sabah-ATV Media Group have both been appointed in charge of our media group… When they were unable to silence the free media, when they couldn’t prevent its effectiveness and it reaching large numbers, then the plan to turn the entire group into a member of the pro-government press has been implemented…

Just as they are trying to eject our media group from Turkey’s satellite operator TÜRKSAT with an unlawful “directive,” this time they tried silencing it with a decision made by their “designed courts.”

And as our free and independent broadcast is blocked, all outlets where the political opposition can speak to the large masses are being censored and darkened…

While “property rights,” “freedom of speech,” “right to information” are all being trampled upon, it has now become impossible for there to be a fair and transparent election campaign…

We are once again living a dark day for Turkish democracy, human rights and rule of law…

With the hope of one day meeting again in a bright and democratic Turkey…"

Oct 26, 2015,, Istanbul


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-10-27 14:46

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