Friday, 6 May 2016

Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu quits

Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit amid reports of Erdogan rift

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says he will stand down at an extraordinary congress of his ruling AK Party later this month.

5 May, 2016
Mr Davutoglu is believed to have fallen from favour because he disapproved of Mr Erdogan's plans to move Turkey to a presidential system of government.
But in a speech, Mr Davutoglu pledged his loyalty to President Erdogan, saying he bore no anger against anyone.
His successor will be chosen when the congress meets on 22 May.
Earlier on Thursday, presidential aide Cemil Ertem said there would be no snap elections following the appointment of a new leader.
He also told Turkish TV that the country and its economy would stabilise further "when a prime minister more closely aligned with President Erdogan takes office".

Brutal end: Analysis by Mark Lowen, Turkey correspondent

When the end came, it was swift and brutal. Ahmet Davutoglu bowed out after crossing the man with the real power: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr Davutoglu was expected to be a pliant prime minister but disagreed with some of Mr Erdogan's more controversial policies and crucially wavered in his support to change the constitution to boost the president's powers.
His resignation means Mr Erdogan tightens his control of Turkey and is likely to install a more obedient prime minister. It will worry many Western leaders who find the divisive Mr Erdogan difficult to handle.
And it plunges this crucial country into a political crisis amid security threats and rows over the clampdown on human rights and free speech. The message from President Erdogan to Mr Davutoglu's successor is clear: follow my lead or you'll face the same fate.

Turkish govt shuts down Zaman newspaper following seizure

© Fabrizio Bensch
© Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

5 May, 2016

The Turkish government is shutting down Zaman newspaper, previously a strong critic of President Erdogan, which it seized control of in March. A number of other media outlets are also being closed by Ankara, according to CNN Turk.

Zaman was taken over by Ankara in early March. Following the seizure, the government immediately appointed new trustees for Feza Media Group, which owned the paper.

Police also raided the newspaper's offices to enforce a Turkish court order stating that the media outlet must be brought under government authority. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Abdulhamit Bilici, was fired soon after.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. © Adem Altan

Once the state took over, the newspaper soon turned into a government mouthpiece. The first edition under the new ownership featured the image of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Critics slammed the government for the move, with Zaman supporters taking to the streets of Istanbul in protest. Police deployed tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets on the demonstrators.

Along with Zaman, a number of other Feza Media Group outlets will be shut down, including Cihan News Agency. Kü will also be closed.

Erdogan has been fiercely criticized for his crackdown on press freedom in recent months, including the pre-trial detention of two journalists who published a report which purportedly showed intelligence officials transporting arms to Syria. 
In late April, Turkey barred foreign journalists from entering the country, without providing any explanation for the move.

News of the shutdown of the media publications comes as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu effectively resigned following a rift with Erdogan, whose leadership has become increasingly authoritarian. 

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