Turkish Daily's First Edition After Government Takeover Adopts pro-Erdogan Line

Front page's main headline is a $3 billion government bridge building project, and a photo of Erdogan holding the hand of an old woman before his reception for women's day.

A photo taken on March 6, 2016 shows the front page of the first new edition of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman.
AFP

Turkish newspaper Zaman, which was taken over by the government on Friday, published its first new edition on Sunday, filled with articles supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The paper, which strongly opposed the Erdogan regime before the police raided the paper on Friday, seems to have completely changed its tune under control of authorities.

The main headline was about a $3 billion government project to build a third bridge connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, and also features a picture of Erdogan holding the hand of an old woman before his reception for women's day, reports AFP.

Journalists carry an injured woman after Turkish riot-police used tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid.
AFP

This is a far cry from the last edition under the old management,  which said the Turkish press had seen one of its darkest days.

On Friday, the court appointed a state administrator to run the flagship Zaman paper and the English-language Today's Zaman, affiliated with a U.S.-based cleric the Turkish government accuses of plotting a coup.

Sunday's pro-government edition was not produced by Zaman's journalists, one of them told AFP.

A court on Friday appointed a state administrator to run the flagship Zaman paper and the English-language Today's Zaman, affiliated with a movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen the government claims is attempting to topple it. The paper's editor-in-chief was fired too.

On Saturday, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse a few thousand supporters who gathered outside Zaman newspaper's offices and chanted, "Free press cannot be silenced."

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."

The website of the English-language Today's Zaman, which was also confiscated, featured stories about the takeover and the EU's critical response but had not been updated since Saturday.

Zaman's editors were once largely supportive of Erdogan, who served as prime minister between 2003 and 2014 before winning the presidency, but differences emerged over foreign policy and a government plan to shut schools run by Gulen's followers.