Riot police stand at the headquarters of Zaman newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, late March 4, 2016
Stringer—Reuters
By Simon Lewis
March 8, 2016

Turkey’s highest-circulating newspaper has effectively gone into exile after the government seized control of the paper’s offices and began publishing flattering stories about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The opposition-aligned Zaman would continue to exist in the form of its German edition, Sueleyman Bag, editor-in-chief of Zaman Almanya (Zaman Germany), told Reuters. “We will print an independent newspaper. We still have not addressed the question of how we do that. This is a new challenge for us,” Bag added.

Authorities took control of Zaman’s Istanbul headquarters on Friday after a court ruled that the paper’s management must be replaced by court-appointed administrators. The move is part of a wider crackdown on domestic supporters of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, a political opponent that Erdogan’s administration has branded a terrorist.

According to al-Jazeera, the front page of Sunday’s Zaman — the first edition published since the takeover — lead with a softball story about Erdogan overseeing the construction of a bridge.

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