Turkish police raid critical news website
ISTANBULTurkish police raided the headquarters of a news website Sept. 30, allegedly demanding that a critical article about last year’s massive corruption investigations be removed immediately.
Police officers came to the office of Karşı, a newspaper that shut down its print edition in April and turned itself into a digital-only publication, in Istanbul’s Mecidiyeköy neighborhood early on Sept. 30. After preventing five of its employees from working on the news website, the Anti-Cyber Crime Unit conducted a search in the office.
Emrah Direk, editor-in-chief of karsigazete.com, said the police officers asked the paper to remove an article about the corruption probes initiated in December 2013 that implicated several government figures. “We are a press organization. We have the right to inform the public,” Direk said. “We have just five employees. We were surprised that 10-15 police officers raided our office.”
Direk claimed that the unit did not produce a search warrant when it asked for the removal of the article, which was published by compiling social media reactions to the government’s claims that the wiretapping records were montaged. “They didn’t explain to us their reasoning,” he said. “They didn’t tell us which crime we committed by publishing that article. But we are not intimidated. We will keep walking our line.”
The Istanbul Police Department rejected claims that the raid was conducted without a court order. “The process regarding the aforementioned newspaper is being conducted according to court orders and laws,” read a written statement.
The Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC), on the other hand, condemned the police raid. “This is the latest example [of] the censorship that is present in this country. It is a fresh blow to the right of the people to be informed,” TGC said in a Sept. 30 statement on its website.