ISTANBUL (Web Desk) – Turkey’s largest daily newspaper Zaman has published an edition carrying pro-government articles, two days after being taken over by authorities.
A court ruled on Friday that Zaman, previously linked to an opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, should now be run by administrators.
Its last edition under old ownership on Saturday said Turkey’s press had seen one of its “darkest days”.
Meanwhile, a newspaper set up by former Zaman staff was launched on Sunday, the BBC reported.
Police raided Zaman’s Istanbul offices late on Friday hours after a court ruling placed it under state control, but managers were still able to get Saturday’s edition to print.
No reason was given by the court for the decision.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the takeover was “legal, not political”.
“It is out of the question for either me or any of my colleagues to interfere in this process,” he said in a television interview.
Water cannon and tear gas were used against some 500 Zaman supporters gathered in front of its headquarters on Saturday.
Zaman journalists who arrived to work on Saturday said their access to internal servers had been denied. Its editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici and a leading columnist were also fired.
The front page of Sunday’s edition of Zaman, the first under new ownership, bears an image of Mr Erdogan and the headline “Historic excitement about the bridge”. The article says Mr Erdogan is to lay the last part of a third bridge across the Bosphorus that is close to completion.
In less than 48 hours, the new admin turned seized Zaman into a propaganda piece of the regime in Turkey. pic.twitter.com/ORAAo0r7Ws
— Sevgi Akarcesme (@SevgiAkarcesme) March 6, 2016
The edition was met with scepticism by journalists who used to write for Zaman, which has a readership of 650,000.
Zaman’s website is now inaccessible, but has a holding message promising there will soon be “unbiased coverage for our readers”.
The paper was closely linked to the Hizmet movement of influential US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Turkey says is a “terrorist” group aiming to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
Mr Gulen was once an ally of Mr Erdogan but the two fell out. Many Hizmet supporters have been arrested.
The European Union is accused of acting softly on Turkey as it needs the country’s support in managing the refugee crisis.
The government in Ankara has come under increasing international criticism over its treatment of journalists.
The EU’s diplomatic service said that Turkey “needs to respect and promote high democratic standards and practices, including freedom of the media”, while the US described the move as “troubling”.