Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has suggested that the case was outside the control of his government, noting in a televised interview that it was a "legal, not political" takeover. But the newspaper's Sunday edition suggested that the publication's editorial stance had already swung sharply in a pro-government direction — just 48 hours after the paper's seizure.
Sevgi Akarcesme, editor in chief of the paper's English-language edition, tweeted a photograph of the Sunday edition's front page, noting that it was now publishing "propaganda." The top story on the page discussed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "historic excitement" about the opening of a bridge, for example. There were no reports on the protests that had greeted the takeover of Zaman, nor the considerable international criticism of the move.
It was a sharp change. Before being forced out Friday, Zaman's staff had managed to get the Saturday edition published. The stark front page had led with the headline "CONSTITUTION SUSPENDED," a criticism of what the paper viewed as a government-led crackdown on freedom of speech.
The website of Zaman remains offline, though the paper's English-language service remains online but has not been updated since Saturday.
On Sunday, some journalists who worked for Zaman put out their own newspaper, titled Yarina Bakis (a Turkish phrase that means "look toward tomorrow"). It also took over the now-deleted Twitter account of Zaman. Yarina Bakis's Sunday edition extensively covered the controversy over Zaman.
The takeover of Zaman appears to be the latest episode in the conflict between Erdogan's government and supporters of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen – before Gulen and Erdogan fell out in 2013, Zaman was actually known for its pro-government stance. In October, four other media organizations linked to Gulen were taken over. Gulen supporters have been accused of working with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in a bid to overthrow the government.
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