World View: Turkey Takes Control of Last Remaining Independent News Source

This picture taken in Istanbul on April 17, 2017, shows the front pages of Turkish newspapers bearing headlines a day after Turkey's referendum : Hurriyet (top) bearing a headline which translates as "New System" and Star bearing a headline which translates as " Victory of people". The deputy leader of …

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Turkey’s government takes control of last remaining independent news source
  • South Africans furious at Australia for condemning white farmer land confiscation

Turkey’s government takes control of last remaining independent news source

Dogan Holding television stations, Kanal D and CNN Turk (AFP)
Dogan Holding television stations, Kanal D and CNN Turk (AFP)

Turkey is joining the ranks of China, Russia, Iran, Cambodia, Egypt, Burundi, Cameroon, and others in criminalizing the reporting of news that criticizes the government, and jailing reporters who do so.

On Thursday, an ally of Turkey’s government began the acquisition the last major independent media company, Dogan Holding, which owns well-known publications including Hurriyet and CNN Turk.

Aydin Dogan, the 81-year-old billionaire who founded Dogan Holding in 1979, announced the sale of all the media assets to Demirören Group, a media group with a close relationship with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Dogan has had a difficult relationship with Erdogan’s AK Party since the party came to power in 2002. The holding faced a record $2.5 billion in tax fines in 2009, which Dogan claimed were politically motivated. The fines forced Dogan to sell some assets to Demirören in 2011.

Ever since Turkey faced a botched coup attempt in June 2016, Erdogan has used the coup attempt to become increasingly dictatorial and authoritarian at every opportunity. Dozens of journalists have been jailed on phony charges since the coup attempt, but Erdogan started his purge well before the coup attempt, as shown by the actions against Dogan since 2003.

In particular, four months before the coup, Turkey and the world were shocked when Erdogan shut down Zaman, the country’s major opposition newspaper, the largest newspaper in the country, and jailed some of its reporters.

There is almost no independent press remaining in Turkey. Cumhuriyet, a mainstream opposition newspaper much smaller than Dogan’s properties, has had a dozen of its employees imprisoned on phony charges, although many have been released after a year in prison for lack of evidence. France 24 and Bloomberg and Guardian (London) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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South Africans furious at Australia for condemning white farmer land confiscation

Officials in South Africa’s government are expressing fury at the so-called “racist” statements by Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. South Africa recently announced a policy where the government will confiscate land from white-owned farms with no compensation whatsoever and turn it over to black farmers. Dutton was reacting to that policy, as well as to threats of violence targeting white farmers.

Dutton has announced that Australia should speed up the visas for white farmers who, he claimed, are being “persecuted” by the confiscation policy. “These people deserve special attention,” Sutton said. “From what I’ve seen they do need help from a civilized country like ours.”

Supporters of Dutton’s policy are calling the land confiscation policy “reverse racism.” According to one, “The situation has become so bleak, [that] being a farmer in South Africa is now the world’s most dangerous job.”

South Africa’s International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu demanded that Dutton withdraw his comments: “The impression created is that white farmers in South Africa are living under horrific conditions and there is a possibility of death. And all these barbaric things are being put across about us.”

Gareth Newham, an analyst with the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, said young black men faced a greater risk of being murdered in South Africa than white farmers:

In fact, young black males living in poor urban areas like Khayelitsha and Lange face a far greater risk of being murdered. The murder rate there is between 200 and 300 murders per 100,000 people.

As I have described many times, a policy similar to the proposed land confiscation policy was adopted in 1999 by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had been an extremely wealthy country, the breadbasket of southern Africa, exporting a great deal of food to other countries. Mugabe threw the white farmers off the farms, and gave the farms to blacks who were his political cronies, but did not know how to farm. Thanks to Mugabe, Zimbabwe turned from one of the wealthiest countries to one of the poorest countries in the world, with mass starvation, a worthless currency, and a massive million percent inflation rate. EyeWitnessNews (South Africa) and South African Government and In Depth News

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Dogan Holding, Hurriyet, CNN Turk, Aydin Dogan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Zaman Media, Cumhuriet, Demirören Group, South Africa, Australia, Peter Dutton, Lindiwe Sisulu, Gareth Newham, Institute for Security Studies, Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe
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