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Turkey witnesses 'unprecedented onslaught on critical media'

Since coming to power in 2002, Turkey’s ruling party has employed unprecedented means to expand pro-government media and curb critical media, acting in cooperation with crony businessmen and using public funds.
Police officers carry security barriers in front of the Zaman newspaper headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey March 6, 2016.  REUTERS/ Osman Orsal - RTS9ILE
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ANKARA, Turkey — In late March, Turkey’s 20-year-old liberal daily Radikal announced it was closing down, two years after it terminated its print edition to become a web-only publication. Though financial strains were said to have forced the closure, the real reason was an open secret — the daily’s editorial line and writers had long irked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his valedictory column, Radikal veteran Cengiz Candar — also an Al-Monitor columnist — said he was ending his four-decade career because doing journalism in Turkey was no longer possible.

The government-media struggle has been omnipresent in Turkey. Previous governments, too, have sought to control the media, but none could even hold a candle to the means of repression and intimidation the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has employed.

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