CHP Leader Baykal: “Turkey Dragged Into Dangerous Clashes; AKP Is Building Its State Within The State”

Leader of the main opposition [CHP] Deniz Baykal reacted to the detentions of Turkey’s prominent, senior journalist/writer Ilhan Selcuk, former Istanbul University president and one of the country’s best known surgeons Prof. Kemal Alemdaroglu, and Dogu Perincek the leader of a political party, among other media personalities.

In a televised speech, Baykal said, “The AKP has already completed the process of partisan appointments and it is reaping the benefits of having its people in all the ranks of the state. Now it is building its own state within the state. This process is not consistent with democracy and the rule of law. It is not acceptable in democracies for the ruling party to abuse the power of being in government in order to intimidate respectable intellectuals. Turkey is being dragged into very dangerous clashes. This cannot go on like this. There are, there must be, limits not to be crossed”. Baykal also said that the country’s Constitution has turned into an ordinary document that gets amended according to the daily changing needs of the AKP.

Source: CNNTurk TV, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, Aksam, March 21-22, 2008

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Turkish Daily Vatan: “Sabah Becomes Al-Sabah; An Arab Partner To Sabah/ATV”

Turkish media reports that the sale of Turkey’s second largest media group is now complete, following the full payment of 1.25 billion USD made yesterday to the governmental Savings Deposit and Insurance Fund [TMSF] that had confiscated the media group last April. Calik Group - where PM Erdogan’s son-in-law is the CEO – was the only bidder in TMSF tender and purchased Sabah/ATV media group with all its assets that include dozens of newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, as well as publishing and distribution companies.

Turkish media reports that unable to raise the money from private banks, Calik group obtained the loan of 750 million USD from two state-owned banks Vakifbank and Halkbank, which according to speculations were pressured by AKP government to provide Calik with the loans. Calik announced the conclusion of the deal in a statement last night and disclosed its partnership with Al Wasaeel International Media Co. of Qatar which bought 25 percent of the Sabah/ATV media group for 350 million USD.

Mainstream Turkish daily Vatan wrote that Calik Group has managed to become the owner of Turkey’s second largest media group by spending only 150 million USD out of its own pocket.

Source: Hurriyet, Vatan, April 23, 2008

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