Press Freedom

Hürriyet replaces editor-in-chief

According to the Turkish Minute, the Hürriyet daily, which is at center of government criticism these days due to one of its recent reports about the government-military relationship, has replaced its editor-in-chief, Sedat Ergin, with former Milliyet daily Editor-in-Chief Fikret Bila, according to a story on the T24 news website on Tuesday.

Hürriyet has attracted widespread criticism from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other government figures for the report and has been accused of trying to create tension between the government and the army.

The report, which was published on Saturday and written by Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Hande Fırat, was titled “The [military] headquarters is restless,” which meant to say that the General Staff was disturbed about criticism suggesting that it was too close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and found it without merit.

ERGIN HAD BEEN SERVING AS HURRIYET IN CHIEF FOR TWO YEARS

Ergin had been serving as Hürriyet editor-in-chief  for two-and-a-half years.

According to T24, Hürriyet’s decision to replace Ergin was made in early February but the crisis over Saturday’s story just accelerated the replacement process.

Bila was invited to İstanbul from Ankara in mid-February and was offered the position of Hürriyet editor-in-chief. This took place with the knowledge of Ergin, T24 said, relying on sources from Hürriyet.

Bila served as Milliyet daily’s editor-in-chief between July 2013 and August 2016. He has  been writing columns for Hürriyet since August 2016.

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