26 Oct 2018 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 30 Oct 2015 Turkey

Turkey: Seizure of Media Holding, with Police Raids and Temporary Closure of Two Major Television Channels, Days Prior to Elections

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner Article 19 AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
At 4.30 am on Wednesday 28 October 2015, Turkish police raided the offices of BugunTV and KanalTurk, two major independent television stations, owned by Koza Ipek, a pro-opposition media group. Tarik Toros, General Manager of BugunTV, claimed live on air that police had not shown a warrant or court order prior to the raid. Video footage of the raid shows police violently forcing their way into the building and using tear gas against protesters outside. One reporter, Kamil Maman, was detained by police. Broadcasting by both channels was cut off in the afternoon.

Prior to the raid, on 26 October 2015, a Turkish court ordered the seizure of Koza Ipek. According to reports, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor said the seizure was linked to an ongoing investigation of Koza-Ipek on suspicion of 'terrorist propaganda' and 'financing terrorism’. The charges relate to the conglomerate’s alleged links to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose movement, the 'Hizmet Movement’, has been declared a terrorist organisation by the Turkish state. The legal definition ‘terrorism’ and ‘financing terrorism’ in Turkish law is broad and the Hizmet movement has been declared a terrorist organization, despite no evidence of acts of violence by the movement.

Further to the court order, the owner of Koza Ipek has been removed and a board of trustees appointed to take over administration of the conglomerate, which includes two newspapers and two television stations that have been highly critical of the ruling AKP party. Some independent newspapers have raised concerns that the board is not independent from the AKP party. On Thursday 29 October 2015, concerns about the political neutrality of the board were heightened following the online release of video footage showing the dismissal of a number of Bugun Daily employees, including the editor-in-chief, during an editorial meeting.
Updates
26 Oct 2018
On 26 October 2018, Kanaltürk and BugunTV were removed from Turksat | Kanaltürk Turksat frequencies.
05 Aug 2018
In July 2018, the Turkish government was taken to international tribunal for illegally seizing company assets by Ipek Investment Ltd (IIL), a British company headed by a Turkish businessman, Hamdi Akin İpek, who lives in the UK. His holding company used to control the Koza Group. A London court had ruled in December 2016 that Turkish trustees have no claim on alleged Gülen-linked firm’s UK asset.
15 Sep 2017
In August 2017, the assets of the two TV stations which had been transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) were put on sale by auction.
17 Nov 2015
On 17 November 2015, the two TV channels BugunTV and KanalTurk were removed from Turksat.
05 Nov 2015
Up to 71 journalists and media workers have been dismissed from the İpek Media Group, on 3 November 2015
State replies
Follow-ups
30 Oct 2015
Statement by the Spokesperson of the Secretary General
30 Oct 2015
The Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks condemns the Turkish police’s violent raids against the media
30 Oct 2015
OSCE Representative condemns police raid against media outlets in Turkey, calls on authorities to restore and ensure media pluralism
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