Skip to navigationSkip to content

Turkey’s biggest newspaper has been taken over by the state without an explanation

Reuters/ Osman Orsal
Tear gas was used to disperse protesters outside Zaman’s office.
By Olivia Goldhill
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Turkey’s most widely-read newspaper, Zaman, printed one final Saturday edition before their offices were raided by state police.

On Friday, a Turkish court ruled that state administrators should run the newspaper. There was no explanation for the decision, according to the BBC.

Police entered Zaman offices in Istanbul late on Friday, using tear gas to disperse protestors who had gathered outside.

But before the raid, Zaman put together a Saturday edition with a front-page headline reading, “The Constitution is suspended.”

The newspaper, which has been critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, added, that, “The Turkish press has experienced one of the darkest days in its history.”

Zaman’s English-language sister paper, Today’s Zaman, published an editorial outlining the pressure the newspapers have faced for the past two years. The newspaper added:

“We are deeply concerned about all these developments that undermine Turkey’s democratic performance. We believe the only way out of this nightmarish atmosphere is to return to democracy and the rule of law.”

Turkey has come under increasing international criticism for its treatment of the press, with reports that 30 journalists are in prison. The country ranks 149th of 180 countries in the Reporters without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.

Some Zaman journalists went into work on Saturday. A few tweeted that they didn’t have access to their email or internal servers and couldn’t file articles, according to the BBC. There are also fears that the state could attempt to erase the newspaper’s online archive.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.