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Dogan Group, which has interests in energy, media, and real estate, also runs Trump Towers in a busy commercial district of Istanbul. The detentions represent a new chapter in the history of long-running feuds between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Dogan.
He hired pro-government editors and columnists to avoid the wrath of Erdogan as one of his mildly critical columnists attacked by government supporters and its office in Istanbul came under attack last year.
Hurriyet is one of the key elements of mainstream Turkish media. Given the history of feuds and long-standing quarrels between Dogan Group and Erdogan, the latest detentions are seen as another attempt to stifle critical and independent journalism that Hurriyet may provide at a time as the majority of Turkish media is either cowed or forced to toe in line with the government.
A few years back, Turkish authorities have launched a series of investigations to probe actors who participated in that military coup in 1997. Dogan, fearing that he is next in line, immediately asked Donald J. Trump to lease his name and opened twin towers in Istanbul. He invited Erdogan to cut the ribbon.
On February 16, Turkey's largest media company, the Dogan Media Group, was fined nearly $500 million for an alleged late tax payment. Tax laws are complicated, and the exact circumstances of the matter are unclear. The troubling point is that this follows on five months of public bullying of the Dogan group by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since September, he has repeatedly asked his followers to boycott DMG's newspapers. The tax investigation into the Dogan group, moreover, began only a few weeks after the opening of a court case to close the governing AKP. Erdogan argues that the tax case is a matter not of press freedom but of tax evasion, yet the fine can hardly be defended as \"business as usual.\"
A Turkish court on Friday acquitted renowned novelist Asli Erdogan on charges of membership of an armed terror organisation, in a case which sparked international condemnation. The court in Istanbul also acquitted Erdogan, who is living in exile in Germany, of disrupting the unity of the state, and dropped charges of spreading terror propaganda. Erdogan, whose books have been translated into various different languages, was an occasional columnist for pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem which was shut down after the failed 2016 coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish authorities accused the paper -- where Asli worked as a literary adviser -- of being a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies. The court also acquitted two other defendants, including linguist Necmiye Alpay. The 52-year-old Erdogan -- who is not related to the Turkish president -- was held in pre-trial detention for four months in 2016 but later released. She did not attend Friday's hearing but in a statement read by her lawyer Erdal Dogan, Erdogan said her columns did not contain any violent element. \"Their political content is limited to human rights violations,\" she said, adding that the accusations based on her literary texts \"trampled on the values of both law and literature\". - 'Fascist regime'- Erdogan is the author of novels including \"The City in Crimson Cloak\" and \"The Stone Building and Other Places\" which are famed for their unflinching exploration of loss and trauma, and her detention had raised concerns worldwide. For rights advocates, the trial was emblematic of a systematic crackdown by the government on freedom of expression, particularly after the failed coup. A post-putsch purge by Turkish authorities targeted not just alleged backers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen -- blamed by Ankara for the coup plot -- but also opposition media and people accused of PKK ties. Ankara however rejects the accusations of wide-scale rights violations and says the sweeping operations were aimed at keeping the state clean of Gulen's \"virus\". In an 2018 interview with AFP in Germany, Erdogan said her country was sliding into fascism. \"The extent of things in Turkey is like Nazi Germany,\" she said. \"I think it is a fascist regime. It is not yet 1940s Germany, but 1930s.\" - 'Very happy' - Erdogan's mother Mine Aydostlu appeared jubilant after the verdict. \"Believe me, I am very happy. I could not believe it. I was expecting this but still, I couldn't believe it,\" she told AFP outside Istanbul's main court. \"I asked many times if she was really acquitted. I could only believe it after I heard the word acquittal nine or 10 times.\" After the travel ban against Erdogan was lifted in June 2017, she has largely lived in self-imposed exile in Europe and is currently in Berlin. Her lawyer said she was abroad because she was suffering health problems as a result of her 2016 detention, and for a writing scholarship. \"She is not seeking asylum, she is abroad for a temporary period of time,\" he told AFP. \"She will not come to Turkey today but of course she will return. Turkey is her homeland.\" Turkish author Asli Erdogan, pictured in 2018, lives in exile in Germany Mine Aydostlu, mother of Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan and Erdogan's lawyer Erdal Dogan speak to the media after the court ruling
PETER KENYON, BYLINE: For Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the meeting with Putin could be a chance to advance one of his key foreign policy goals - to establish a so-called security corridor along the Syrian border by pushing back Kurdish fighters that Turkey sees as terrorists. Erdogan has been saying that move, which the U.S. and other countries oppose, could come at any time.
KENYON: Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst focusing on Turkish-Russian relations, says the No. 1 topic at the talks is likely to be Erdogan seeking assurance that Russia, which has troops in Syria, won't interfere with any Turkish offensive.
KENYON: Sinan Ulgen at the Istanbul-based Center for Politics and Foreign Policy Studies says Erdogan has also promised to send a million Syrian refugees back to their country. Ulgen says a cross-border operation could seek to lay the groundwork to get that process started.
KENYON: He also says Moscow may calculate that a military operation would boost Erdogan's reelection chances next year, which Russia would likely prefer to a new opposition party government in Ankara.
Dr Taner Dogan is a Lecturer in Digital Media and Communication at Queen Margaret University and a Guest Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is the author of \"Communication Strategies in Turkey: Erdogan, the AKP and Political Messaging\" (I.B.Tauris, 2021). 59ce067264