“Our government has no bearing in this. The decisions judicial bodies have made will be implemented,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told private broadcaster A Haber during a live broadcast on March 6 about a ruling issued by an Istanbul court that ordered the placement of the Feza Gazetecilik Media Group under the administration of a board of trustees.
“I made remarks on this yesterday. It is completely a legal process. No one should have hesitation about press freedom in Turkey,” he said.
“Here is an indictment that states several acts of misconduct, including money laundering, by the parallel state. The bodies that are running this [operation] are judicial bodies,”Davutoğlu said.
A trustee panel took over the administration of the media group which includes the Cihan News Agency, the Today's Zaman and Zaman dailies, a Zaman magazine, as well as Zaman Kitap, amid a police crackdown on hundreds of protesters following a decision by an Istanbul court.
Turkish police dispersed a crowd of Zaman media group supporters on March 5, a day after the court appointed a trustee panel to seize control of the group.Police used tear gas to disperse the supporters of the group before the protesters escaped to side streets.
The trustees entered the headquarters of the Feza Gazetecilik Media Group under police escort. Meanwhile, the labor contracts of daily Zaman Editor-in-Chief Abdülhamit Bilici and Today's Zaman columnist Bülent Keneş were terminated, according to reports.