20:29 GMT05 March 2021
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    Turkey's most widely read newspaper, Today’s Zaman, has marked its return to the newsstands with a drastic U-turn in its editorial policy by adopting of a pro-government line in its first edition since the government-backed takeover of the previously critical media outlet.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan now can be seen on the new Zaman daily’s front page. Its top story on Sunday described how he attended a ceremony marking a key phase in the construction of a bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

    ​More articles supporting the government could be found in the Sunday edition of the paper that has an estimated circulation of 650,000.
    Containing just 12 pages, the paper is a slimmer version of its previous 42-page edition, and the content is sparse.

    ​Zaman's website was offline, with a message that read: "We will provide you, our readers, with a better quality and more objective service as soon as possible."

    Today's Zaman
    Today's Zaman

    The website of the English-language Today's Zaman, which was also taken under government control, featured stories about the takeover and the European Union's critical response but had not been updated since Saturday.

    Police stormed the headquarters of the Zaman opposition newspaper Friday to enforce a court decision to place it and its sister outlets under the management of trustees.

    ​The step sparked two days of protests which police dispersed using tear gas and water cannons.

    ​According to reports, the newspaper was linked to Erdogan’s biggest rival, the US-based Muslim leader Fethullah Gulen. Its take-over is part of a wider state crackdown on his movement.

    ​Erdogan has accused Gulen of conspiring to overthrow the government by building a network of supporters in the
    judiciary, police and media. Gulen has denied the allegations.

    Related:

    Turkish Prime Minister Disagrees With EU on Media Freedom, Kurdish Issue
    France Claims Turkish Seizure of Opposition Media Violates European Values
    Turkish PM Says Government Not Involved in Seizure of Media Group
    Tags:
    Freedom of Press, media freedom, editorial policy, newspaper, media, Today's Zaman, Turkey
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