Ex-Zaman editor-in-chief questions objectivity of Gulen media

Former editor-in-chief of Daily Zaman talks about trusty assigned to paper as part of accusation against Gulen-linked terror organisation

When it comes to press independence, the record of pro-Gulen media is very poor and that’s why Daily Zaman managers are not realistic, said ex-chief editor of the newspaper.

Speaking to TRT WORLD on Saturday, Huseyin Gulerce, the ex-editor-in chief of Daily Zaman, which was appointed to a trustee by a Turkish court, slammed the criticism of trustee decision made by Zaman administrators.

Trustees have been appointed for Zaman newspaper, a daily paper linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish court announced on Friday.

The court’s decision was criticised by pro-Gulen protesters and editorial staff of the newspaper, saying it damages “freedom of press.”

However, Huseyin Gulerce -who had left his position with the newspaper after saying it lost objectivity- said he does not agree with the statements .

“Previously, in Turkey, there were judicial cases known as Ergenekon or Balyoz. It was later found the evidence to those cases was fabricated and a lot of plotting was involved,” said Gulerce.

“Reporting these cases, Gulen media -along with Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV channel- took side in the judicial process without the least concern for objectivity of freedom of press,” he said.

“All and all, when it comes to  press independence, the record of pro-Gulen media is very poor and that’s why they are not convincing.”

He also underlined that the majority of Turkish press did not report the court decision to appoint the trustee as a matter of press freedom. He said the media took it as part of the accusation against the Gulen-linked terror organisation.

The Gulen Movement, which is led by Fethullah Gulen - a US based preacher of Turkish origin- is accused by the Turkish government of establishing and leading a “parallel state,” composed of a network of followers who have allegedly infiltrated the judiciary, police force, and other state agencies to control these institutions.

A secret circle within the Gulen Movement was also determined as a national security threat for Turkey by the National Security Council.

Turkey’s chief public prosecutor’s office of Istanbul has recently issued an indictment accusing the circle of “terrorism” and calling it as “Gulenist Terrorist Organisation (FETO).”

The accusations include illegal wiretapping, blackmail and threats.