Typical Zaman front page
|Editor-in-chief||Abdülhamit Bilici (October 2015 – March 5, 2016)|
|Political alignment||Before seizure: Gülen movement;
After seizure: pro-government
|Headquarters||Fevzi Çakmak Mah.
A. Taner Kışlalı Cad. No:6
|Circulation||2,424 (as of 4 April 2016)|
Zaman (literally "time" or "era" in Turkish), sometimes stylized as ZAMAN, is a daily in Turkey. Zaman was a major, high-circulation daily before government seizure on 4th of March, 2016 (the circulation was around 650,000 as of February 2016) It was founded in 1986 and was the first Turkish daily to go online in 1995. It contains national (Turkish), international, business, and other news. It also has many regular columnists who cover current affairs, interviews, and a culture section.
The newspaper originally supported the Justice and Development Party (AKP), but became increasingly critical of that party and its leader, Turkish president and former prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, particularly after the AKP closed the 2013 December investigation into corruption. On 4 March 2016, in what activists and international media groups criticized as another blow to press freedom in Turkey, control of the newspaper was seized by the government. The takeover was motivated by the newspaper's ties to the Hizmet movement of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, which the government accuses of attempting to establish a parallel state in Turkey.
In addition to four locations in Turkey, regional editions are printed and distributed in Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Turkmenistan, and the US. Zaman bureaus and correspondents are located in major world capitals and cities like Washington DC, New York, Brussels, Moscow, Cairo, Baku, Frankfurt, Ashgabat, Tashkent, and Bucharest.
Special international editions are distributed in the native alphabets and languages of the countries they are published. Zaman has prints in 10 different languages including Kyrgyz, Romanian, Bulgarian, Azeri, Uzbek, Turkmen and Kazakh. Originally also having an English-language edition, since January 16, 2007, that role has been taken over by the English-language daily newspaper Today's Zaman.
Zaman headquarters in Istanbul is supported by news bureaus in Ashgabat, Baku, Brussels, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Moscow, New York, and Washington, DC. Zaman also appears to have a large network of foreign journalists, especially in Russia and Central Asia.
Current position and awards
As of 2008 its circulation was about 890,000, the highest in Turkey. The total paid circulation of Zaman was verified by an independent Media Auditing company, BPA Worldwide, after accusations that the newspaper was being handed out freely to gain market share. The audit report was released in March 2007, revealing that Zaman' circulation was 609,865 between Monday–Saturday, and 678,027 on Sundays, without any non-paid circulation. BPA audit figures also showed that Zaman has one of the largest subscriber bases of a national newspaper in Europe.
In May 2011, Zaman surpassed its 1 million subscription target. However some newspapers questioned the quality of the subscriptions, claiming that supporters of the paper's outlook had purchased multiple subscriptions of the newspaper in order to artificially inflate its circulation. The circulation of Zaman as of January 2014 was more than 1 million, while other newspapers saw mixed results between increase and decrease in circulation.
Zaman has been awarded several times for its design, including Society for News Design (SND). Zaman's SND awards tally includes 3 in 2003, 5 in 2004, 2005, 2006, 20 in 2007, 42 in 2008, and 23 in 2009.
When in March 2016 the newspaper was taken over by Turkish authorities, Abdülhamit Bilici, who had been editor-in-chief since October 2015, was deposed.
The newspaper has attracted number of famous columnists both from liberal and conservative wings of thought.
A columnist had to resign from the newspaper on December 3, 2013 due to non-compliance with editorial line of opposing to the ruling party of Turkey and pressure from editors of the newspaper. The incident caused criticism of the newspaper as standing against freedom of expression.
Zaman was the first Turkish newspaper to set up an online version, in 1995. Since then, the website has gone through several redesigns, the latest at the end of 2010, and is now positioned as a news portal.
December 2014 crackdown
On 14 December 2014 Turkish police arrested more than two dozen senior journalists and media executives on charges of "forming, leading and being a member of an armed terrorist organization." Among those detained was the editor-in-chief of Zaman, Ekrem Dumanli. Police arriving at 7.30 a.m. at the newspaper's office were greeted by scores of protesters shouting "a free media cannot be silenced." They had mounted a vigil after tweets from "Fuatavni"—a reliable but anonymous source—had warned of the raid. Police retreated only to reappear in the afternoon when Dumanli gave himself up voluntarily.
A statement by the US State Department drawing attention to raids against media outlets "openly critical of the current Turkish government", cautioned Turkey not to violate its "own democratic foundations".EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that the arrests went "against European values" and "are incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy".
On 19 December 2014 a court ordered that Dumanlı and seven others be released due to lack of evidence. Thousands gathered outside Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul to show support for the detained journalists and police officials. While crowds celebrated the release of Dumanlı in the courtyard of the courthouse, they protested the arrest order for Samanyolu TV General Manager Hidayet Karaca and former police chiefs Tufan Ergüder, Ertan Erçıktı and Mustafa Kılıçaslan.
March 2016 government takeover
On 4 March 2016 the Turkish government seized control of Zaman. The government takeover occurred after a court order widely criticized by Zaman newspaper staff. After the takeover, the website of Zaman was closed with a message stated that the website is being updated, displayed for two days. All archived news and content became inaccessible, with some claiming all the data has been wiped.
Two days later, the first government-controlled edition appeared, with no mention of the events during its seizure and with its front page carrying a series of pro-government articles and a picture of a smiling president Erdogan.
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