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'We Will Never Kneel Before Erdogan' – Turkish Zaman Journalist

© REUTERS / Kursat BayhanEmployees of Zaman newspaper gather at the courtyard of the newspaper during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey March 4, 2016
Employees of Zaman newspaper gather at the courtyard of the newspaper during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey March 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
Journalists in Turkey will continue to fight for freedom of expression despite the government's crackdown on press freedom, Today's Zaman journalist Emre Soncan told Sputnik.

Despite the police raid on Turkey's best-selling newspaper on Friday, journalists in Turkey are determined to stand up for free speech, Emre Soncan, a journalist for Zaman and the English-language Today's Zaman, told Sputnik.

​"Our main headquarters are in Istanbul and yesterday a Turkish court, which is allegedly under the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ordered the seizure of Zaman newspapers, and police forces yesterday raided our headquarters in Istanbul and took over the management of our newspapers."

"Thousands of our readers were outside our building chanting 'free media cannot be silenced,' and unfortunately the Turkish police used water cannon and tear gas, and some of my journalist colleagues were wounded in this police raid."

Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesting employees and supporters of Zaman newspaper at the courtyard of the newspaper's office in Istanbul, Turkey, late March 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
Tear Gas, Water Cannon: Turkish Police Raid Zaman Newspaper in Istanbul
"Today in Ankara where I am working, we are expecting the same thing, we are expecting the police force to come and take over our newspaper."

"There are no legal grounds, but our constitution is suspended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government, unfortunately. In our constitution it says that the media is free and cannot be censored, but again Erdogan and the government ordered the immediate confiscation of newspapers and TV channels. All the media, unfortunately, is being silenced by the repressive Turkish government."

Protest outside Zaman Media offices in Istanbul - Sputnik International
Turks Protesting Against Seizure of Zaman Media Group (VIDEO)
Soncan said that because the constitution is not in effect and the courts are under the control of the government, opposition journalists are effectively powerless to oppose this crackdown.

"This is the end of democracy, we are very sorry. But as free journalists, and I would like to say this, we will never kneel in front of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and we will still continue to protect free media, free speech and freedom of expression. This is our duty as journalists and free citizens of Turkey."

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