Turkey cracks down on Cihan news agency to limit Erdogan criticism

Published March 8th, 2016 - 09:09 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP photo)

Turkish authorities have seized control of the Cihan news agency, in further crackdown against supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential opponent of President Erdogan, Cihan claimed in a statement.

Monday, Cihan announced on its website that an Istanbul court would designate an administrator to manage the agency following the request of a state prosecutor. The move came days after the Turkish government took control of the leading Gulen-linked newspaper, Zaman.

The media crackdown has prompted international outrage concerning press freedom in Turkey and was discussed at Monday's European Union summit with Ankara over the refugee crisis.

France's foreign minister condemned the seizure of Zaman, Turkey's largest newspaper by circulation, saying the move was  "unacceptable" and contradicted European values.

Both Zaman and Cihan form part of the Feza Gazetecilik media company.

Erdogan accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the government by fostering a network of supporters in the judiciary, police and media - charges which Gulen denies.

In early March, Turkish authorities shut down media businesses linked to Gulen, seized last year from Koza Ipek Holding.

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