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US ambassador concerned over Zaman takeover, calls for respect to press freedom

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US Ambassador John Bass has expressed concern over reports that newly-appointed trustees to the Zaman Media Group as well as violent police response to readers protesting the takeover.

“Deeply disturbed to hear reports that trusteeship is interfering with Zaman’s editorial process. Also watching with concern reports of teargas and rubber bullets against those protesting the takeover. Judicial process must be respected, yes – but so must the importance of free press and due process,” Bass quoted as saying by the official Twitter account of the US Embassy in Ankara on Saturday night.

An İstanbul court appointed trustees to take over the management of the Feza Media Group, which includes Turkey’s biggest-selling newspaper, the Zaman daily, as well as the Today’s Zaman daily and the Cihan news agency, dealing a fresh blow to the already battered media freedom in Turkey.

Police fired tear gas, plastic bullets and used water cannons on hundreds of readers who gathered outside the Zaman building to protest the takeover on Friday and Saturday.

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