Turkey media arrests: Erdogan rejects EU criticism

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Mr Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the European Union after it criticized the mass arrest of opposition journalists at the weekend.

“The EU should mind its own business and keep its own opinions to itself,” Mr Erdogan said, denying that the raids had infringed press freedom.

EU leaders have said the arrests were incompatible with “European values”.

At least 24 journalists said to have close links with a US-based cleric are being held for plotting to seize power.

Sunday’s raids targeted the Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV channel, which are described as close to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement.

Zaman's editor-in-chief
Zaman’s editor-in-chief, who waved to staff while being arrested, is among those being held

A former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Gulen – who lives in self-imposed exile – is accused of running a “parallel state” within Turkey.

‘Dirty operations’

In a statement, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said any move towards membership depended on “full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights”.

The raids and arrests “are incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy”, the pair said in a statement.

 

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