The US criticized the Turkish authorities for seizing control of the Zaman newspaper offices. The newspaper is considered an enemy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “We urge the Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold universal democratic values,” said the US State Department spokesman.

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After the Turkish Police raided the offices of the Zaman newspaper, which is linked to the Turkish opposition, the US State Department spoke out harshly against the actions of the Turkish government. “We see this as the latest in a series of troubling judicial and law enforcement actions taken by the Turkish government targeting media outlets and others critical of it,” said State Department Spokesman John Kirby.

“As Turkey’s friend and NATO ally, we urge Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold the universal democratic values enshrined in their own constitution, including freedom of speech and especially freedom of the press,” explained Kirby. The announcement was released during a press conference shortly after the clashes between Turkish police officers and citizens ended. The police force that arrived at the Zaman newspaper offices sprayed teargas and water cannons on the protesters, who demonstrated outside the building against the Turkish government’s takeover of the popular newspaper.

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The police riot came after an Istanbul court ruled that the newspaper undermines the Turkish government and appointed new administrators to manage the news outlet.

Zaman is connected to cleric Fethullah Gulen, who was once an ally of Erdoğan but in recent years became his political rival. Gulen, who currently lives in the US, is accused of conspiring to overthrow the Turkish government.