Istanbul, Oct 29 () - Just hours after a trustee panel shut down two television channels belonging to the Koza-İpek Group, dailies Bugün and Millet had their printing halted in the late hours of Oct. 28.
The trustee panel, which was appointed on Oct. 27 and started working at the media group as of Oct. 28 according to the company’s lawyers, examined the Bugün and Millet dailies’ Oct. 29 edition and decided they were not appropriate for printing, BBC Türkçe reported.
Bugün Editor-in-Chief Erhan Başyurt said they had sent their newspaper to print at around 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 28 but they were delayed until 9:00 p.m. by technical problems.
“We finished our daily’s pages as of 3:00 p.m. and handed over the newspaper to the [printing] press at 5:00 p.m. They stalled us until 9:00 p.m. They said there was a technical problem. Then they said they would not print it as there was a letter” Başyurt told Samanyolu News Channel late Oct. 28.
“Seizure with trustee panel” was Bugün’s headline, while Millet had adorned its headline with “Bloody coup to free media.”
All of the pages of both dallies were published online via their Twitter accounts.
Meanwhile, a day after Istanbul police used force to enter the headquarters and seize control of media outlets owned by the Koza-İpek Group, police built barricades before the HQ building in Istanbul’s Mecidiyeköy neighborhood and allowed people into the building after checking their identity cards.
Staff working at the Kanaltürk and Bugün TV channels and the Bugün and Millet dailies could enter their workplace only after crossing a police barricade set up in front of the building and after having their IDs checked.
Employees from the two TV channels were seen sitting at nearby cafes on Oct. 29, as their programs were cancelled and “they had no work to do inside the building.”
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 was ongoing into the group’s purported ties to U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen, a former government ally. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) now accuse Gülen of heading a purported illegal organization that Erdoğan believes is trying to topple the AKP government with followers working as insiders in the police, the judiciary and other state institutions.
The police had fired tear gas and water cannons at the crowd gathered in support outside the media group’s office building at around 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 28, two days after the initial court ruling.