Almost a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Istanbul, Turkish police together with judiciary seized one of the country’s largest media groups on the eve of the faithful elections on Sunday.
Of course, the media group was one of the few remaining critical voices in today’s Turkey, where 60-70% of the press is already controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cronies.
The editor-in-chief of Bugun TV, Tarık Toros, managed to continue to broadcast for another 5 hours by locking himself up in the control room. He was then thrown out of the building, which he had run for the last 8 years, by police force.
Both Toros and Erhan Basyurt, the editor-in-chief of Bugun daily were immediately sacked by the new so-called ‘trustees’, all from AKP ranks despite the law dictating that they should be neutral. The two newspapers, after a one-day break, are on the shelves again on Friday (29 October) with Erdogan in their headlines. The TV channels are running documentaries on camels.
Erdogan is a shrewd politician and master tactician. He calculates well and moves quickly when he deems the atmosphere is ripe.
Being given red-carpet treatment in Brussels on 5 October to discuss how to stem the flow of refugees to Europe, Erdogan quickly realised that he was no more a pariah in Brussels.
When Merkel, despite all the warnings from the German Bundestag, visited Istanbul two weeks before elections, Erdogan rightly thought that the EU would simply shut up regarding his domestic actions and that he could get concessions from Brussels before elections as long as he promised Turkey’s help to rein in refugees.
Unfortunate as it is, he was right.
Full article: When the EU shuts up, Erdogan moves in (EU Observer)