TIME Turkey

Turkey’s Biggest Newspaper to Publish in Exile After Government Seizure

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

Authorities raided the paper's Istanbul headquarters on Friday

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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