Barbaros Muratoğlu, the Ankara representative of Doğan Holding, which owns CNNTürk and the Hürriyet daily, was detained.
Muratoğlu’s detention came after daily Akşam editor-in-chief Murat Kelkitlioğlu leveled a series of accusations claiming he was linked to the Gülen movement 10 days ago.
Below is the statement issued on behalf of the Doğan Group by its deputy chairman responsible for corporate communications, Ahter Kutadgu, condemning the “slander campaign”:
“We have learned that an investigation has been opened into Barbaros Muratoğlu, who has served in various positions within our group for 28 years and has been Doğan Holding’s Ankara representative for the last two years, earning our appreciation with his hard work. We do not have sufficient information about the nature and details of the investigation at this stage. We are closely following the process.
“We see that some media groups, taking advantage of this investigation, have reported false news that an operation has been staged against the Doğan Group. Our group, which paid a heavy price for being subjected to plots by the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) in the past, primarily unfair tax penalties, has reported a number of the unlawful practices of elements of this organization in major cases with its publications. It is obvious that our group cannot have any relationship with such an illegal structure.
“Publications against our Ankara representative Barbaros Muratoğlu aim to become a defamation and distortion attempt against our group.
“The Doğan Group, which has existed for 58 years in business life and 40 years in the media sector, stands by our state and nation against all kinds of terrorism and terrorist organizations.
“We believe our esteemed judiciary has the experience and prudence to separate the guilty from the innocent, as our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says.”
The Doğan Media Group played a major role in preventing the Gülenist military coup attempt on the night of July 15, with Pesident Erdoğan appearing for the first time live after the uprising on the group’s news station CNN Türk to call on citizens to resist at a time when the state-run TRT was controlled by coup-attempting soldiers.
The media center, where the headquarters of CNN Türk and Turkey’s largest newspaper Hürriyet are located, was raided on the coup night by soldiers allegedly acting upon instructions by Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-resident Islamist preacher accused of masterminding the plot.
All Doğan media companies took a strong stance against the coup attempt as it was happening.
In addition to being attacked on the night of the coup attempt, Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul was attacked on Sept. 6 and 8, 2015 by politically motivated mobs, and Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan was beaten up by four men in front of his house on Sept. 30, 2015.
In 2009, Doğan Holding was fined $3 billion by the government on claims of unpaid taxes, in a fine that drew major criticism from the EU and the U.S. As the above statement suggests, that tax probe is currently being investigated over the possible role played by pro-Gülen financial officers in the case. A majority of the Finance Ministry inspectors in the case were sacked after the July 15 coup attempt.