Defiant until the end, Friday’s edition of Zaman, Turkey’s largest daily newspaper, was harshly critical of the Erdogan government and its attempts to seize them as “terrorists.” If you were wondering what happened, however, you sure weren’t reading about it in Sunday’s Zaman.
After violent police crackdowns on protesters and forcing their way into the offices, the paper is now well and truly state-run media, and unsurprisingly shifted dramatically in tone, running mostly fluff pieces about President Erdogan. Totally absent was any mention of the paper’s takeover, or indeed any coverage of the violent crackdowns going on literally on their doorstep.
International free press groups have blasted the takeover, which centered around Zaman’s links with an Erdogan ally turned critic turned exiled “terrorist,” and the newspaper’s coverage of corruption within the government. Turkish courts ultimately agreed the easiest solution was to just nationalize the paper outright.
Interestingly, though the takeover was to effect the entire company, as of Sunday evening the English language Today Zaman remained as it was Saturday, still harshly critical of the takeover. This is expected to change, however, and former employees of the paper say that the government is working to wipe out the entire archive of pre-takeover articles by Zaman reporters.Whether they’ll replace these with retroactive articles fitting the current narrative, 1984-style, remains to be seen.