Turkish police have staged a major swoop on the offices of an anti-government media group linked to US-based opposition figure Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey’s police searched 23 media offices and Ipek University in Ankara, which all belong to Koza Ipek Holding company, “as part of a terrorist investigation into Fethullah Gulen,” the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
The media group owns several newspapers and two television channels, including the Turkish dailies Bugun and Millet, the television channels stations Bugun TV and Kanalturk and the website BGNNews.com.
Gulen’s Hizmet (Service) movement was an important supporter of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) when it came to power in 2002. The alliance, however, broke up a decade later, after Gulen was accused of using his influence in the country to topple the government.
Meantime, opposition journalists complain that the move is part of a major government squeeze on all opposition media.
The media crackdown comes as the government, which is fighting a major offensive against Kurdish militants in the southeast, prepares for snap elections on November 1.
The ruling AKP was hopeful of winning the June 7 elections and form a single-party government. However, the AKP plan failed and no party managed to win the minimum number of parliamentary seats required for single-party government.
Talks then got underway on forming a coalition government with the country’s four major parties in parliament.
After coalition talks failed as well, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the formation of an interim government that will run the country until snap elections in November.