Editorial policy of Gülen-linked dailies turns 180 degrees after caretakers take over
HÜRRİYET photoThe editorial policy of dailies Bugün and Millet, which belong to the Koza İpek group that recently was assigned caretakers by the government, have changed their editorial policy in one night, going from anti-government to pro-government.
Meanwhile, journalists, whose names were handed to the police standing at the headquarters in Istanbul, were not allowed inside the building and were fired.
The Bugün daily was printed with the headline “Public on the square,” on Oct. 30, the first newspaper edition after a panel of administrators took over the daily’s managing board, while Millet was published under the title “Turkey under one heart,” with both cover pages showing photos of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Republic Day celebrations.
“Robbery with trustee panel,” was Bugün’s headline on Oct. 29, while Millet had its headline as “Bloody coup against free media,” both of which were not published as the new caretakers had blocked their publication.
Meanwhile, some Bugün employees published an alternative cover page for their daily, changing its name to “Free Bugün,” via Twitter, with the headline of “Slaughter of the caretakers” and a photo showing a caretaker firing a journalist who had defended the Oct. 29 edition of the daily, which the caretaker had referred to as “disgraceful.”
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 26 ordered the Koza-İpek Group to be placed under the management of a trustee panel while an investigation continues into the group’s purported ties to U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen, a former government ally.
Istanbul police used force on Oct. 28 to enter the headquarters and seize control of media outlets owned by the Koza İpek Group, dramatically breaking into the main broadcasting room and shutting down two TV stations, Kanaltürk and Bugün TV.
On Oct. 30, some employees of the Koza İpek media group were not allowed inside the headquarters in Istanbul’s Şişli district as their names had been given to police officers standing guard in front of the building to bar from entering.
These employees were later notified that they had been fired.
Bekir Koç, the managing editor of bugun.com.tr, said he was not allowed inside the building and was forced to take annual leave but was not informed about any cancellation of his contract.
“A list was given to the police and there are different categories like “removed from duty” and “fired.” It stated that I was removed from my duty. They did not allow me in. I called the caretaker; he told me that I needed to take annual leave,” Cihan News Agency reported Koç as saying.
Koç added that the police welcomed everyone at the door and when they wanted a document about the incident, they told him that they could not allow that. “They do not even let us take the photo of the list,” Koç said.
The managing editor of Millet daily, Cuma Ulus, was removed from his post with a notice printed on a page as police officers entered Ulus’ room with the newly appointed managing editor, Hüseyin Yahya Şekerci.
Ulus objected to the decision and was taken out of the building by police force.
Two editors from the media group, Bugün TV editor Fatih Akalan and Bugün TV anchorman Turan Görüryılmaz, announced their resignations on grounds of not being allowed to work since the day the caretakers took over the board.