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Turkey’s largest newspaper just got taken over by the government

Turkish authorities seized control of the country’s largest newspaper on Friday, state-run media said, in a widening crackdown against supporters of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an influential foe of President Tayyip Erdogan.

Administrators have been appointed to run the Feza Media Group, which owns the daily Zaman newspaper and several other papers, at the request of an Istanbul prosecutor, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

An article on the paper’s English-language edition’s website, Today’s Zaman, said the court’s decision “means that the entire management and the editorial board of Feza Media Group companies will be replaced by the three-member board named by the court.”

The paper said the board would be made up of an editor and two lawyers, one of whom, Metin Ilhan, is an open supporter of Erdogan and his AK Party.

Officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

“It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government,” said Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of Zaman.

“This is a dark period for our country, our democracy.”

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