Turkey’s most-read newspaper doesn’t quite look the same anymore.
On Friday, a court ruled that government administrators should take over Zaman, a daily newspaper with a circulation of about 650,000. Later that day, police raided the publication’s offices in Istanbul, firing water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters seeking to block the government takeover.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has suggested that the case was outside the control of his government, noting in a televised interview that it was a “legal, not political” takeover. But the newspaper’s Sunday edition suggested that the publication’s editorial stance had already swung sharply in a pro-government direction — just 48 hours after the paper’s seizure.
Sevgi Akarcesme, editor in chief of the paper’s English-language edition, tweeted a photograph of the Sunday edition’s front page, noting that it was now publishing “propaganda.” The top story on the page discussed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “historic excitement” about the opening of a bridge, for example. There were no reports on the protests that had greeted the takeover of Zaman, nor the considerable international criticism of the move.