Ankara, Oct 30 () - The process leading to the appointment of a board of trustees to manage the Koza-İpek Group, which has seen 23 of its companies seized by a local court as part of a crackdown on followers of the government’s ally-turned-nemesis Fethullah Gülen, is “entirely legal” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said.
Davutoğlu’s remarks late on Oct. 29 came hours after dailies Bugün and Millet were taken over, with their printing halted in the late hours of Oct. 28 and riot police storming their sister TV stations and forcing them off air.
“Directly accusing the government and the executive body during the legal process is not right,” he said in an interview with private broadcaster NTV. Riot police had fired tear gas and water cannon while storming the Istanbul offices of two TV stations owned by Koza-İpek, triggering brawls with staff and demonstrations in protest.
“I’m stating very openly and clearly that this is an entirely legal process. Any intervention from our side is out of the question,” Davutoğlu said, indicating that if he had planned to be involved in such an affair he would not choose the days in the run-up to the Nov. 1 snap election.
“It would not be right if you judge every decision by the judiciary according to your own point of view, or if some professions are perceived as ‘untouchable.’ Of course there is press freedom in Turkey, this should definitely be respected,” he added, urging everyone to be “respectful” of the ongoing legal process.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seemingly justified the appointment of the trustee board to manage the Koza-İpek Group.
“There are different things behind the support [for the group],” Erdoğan said late on Oct. 28. “The reason for the appointment of a trustee board should be considered thoroughly because its top man is on the run,” he told broadcaster Kanal 24.
Referring to Koza-İpek CEO Akın İpek’s claim that there was no irregular transfer of money abroad, Erdoğan questioned why in that case he is now “on the run.”