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Turkey, police storms the headquarters of two TV channels critical of Erdogan

A pochi giorni dalle elezioni legislative, due tv critiche nei confronti del presidente Erdoğan sono state assaltate e oscurate dalle forze dell’ordine.

On Wednesday 28 October 2015, four days ahead of elections, the Turkish police broke into the headquarters of two TV channels – Bugün TV and Kanaltürk – considered to be close to the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan foe. The raid took place while the TV channels were broadcasting: riot policemen, equipped with water cannons and tear gas, advanced from the dawn.

 

When policemen reached the headquarters, they ran into a brave resistance organised by employees and hundreds of protesters (just a few weeks after the terrorist attack that killed tens of people during a peace rally in Ankara). Some hours later, policemen overtook the human barrier protecting the offices, and at 4:30 p.m. (local time) ordered to stop broadcasting. Numerous people have been arrested.

Both TV channels are owned by Koza-Ipek Holding, accused by a Turkish judge of propagandising for Fethullah Gülen, US-based ex-ally of Erdoğan managing an influential network of NGOs, media, and companies authorities consider to be “terrorist organisations”. Among the media controlled, there are two newpapers, Bugun e Millet, which publication has been blocked in the morning of 29 October. Turkey’s President accused Gülen of creating a “paralel state” with the aim to obtain his destitution. For this reason, judicial procedures have recently multiplied against realities close to Koza-Ipek.

 

Political Parties Hold Rallies Ahead Of Turkish Parliamentary Election
Turkey’s President Erdogan ordered the police operation against the two TV channels of government critis. The event has been considered unacceptable by several NGOs ©Gokhan Tan/Getty Images

 

“Due to the forthcoming elections, it’s difficult to get our voice heard,” said Selahattin Demirtas, co-president of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP, pro-Kurdish political party), according to the news agency AFP. And Kurdish vote is expected to be decisive, seen HDP success during last elections. “The power is showing what will be of this country if oppression is not halted,” added Eren Erdem, deputy of the Social-Democratic Party CHP.

 

The European Union declared its concern about Turkish police intervention and called on for respecting freedom of expression. According to the NGO Reporters without Borders, the persecution of critical press agencies has reached disquieting levels.  Emma Sinclair-Webb, of the Human Rights Watch, defined it as an “unprecedented action since the military coupe of 1980”.

 

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