Following a campaign to ban distribution of Daily Sabah copies at the European Parliament (EP), President Antonio Tajani made a scandalous decision on Wednesday to stop presence of the newspaper at the parliament.
The hate-campaign was started by Jeroen Lenaers, a Christian Democrat and Dutch member of the European Parliament, who sent a letter to President Tajani. Lenaers pointed out to a story written by Sabah daily titled ‘Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) network in Holland’ and claimed well known Gülenist Turan Yazır and other FETÖ members were being targeted by the paper, thus it is a valid reason to ban its sister newspaper Daily Sabah.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Marjory van den Broeke, the Head of Press Unit of the EP, confirmed the decision and said “some MEPs were not happy with your paper.” Like tens of newspapers distributed on a daily basis at the EP, Daily Sabah’s copies were only there on Tuesdays. When asked if the ban applies to all papers, Broeke said this is not the case.
Now, it has also emerged that Lenaers had previously spoken to a newspaper owned by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the now defunct Zaman, and called on Ankara to release Mehmet Baransu, a suspected FETÖ reporter, who faces multiple criminal charges. Lenaers had also shared tweets of a fugitive FETÖ suspect, Abdullah Bozkurt, who targets Daily Sabah with false claims, on his Twitter account.
Baransu stands trial over major plots, including two, regarding secularist members of the Turkish army and the Fenerbahçe Sports Club. His ex-spouse had revealed to the media she was threatened by Baransu. She also claimed that the reporter received money from “some people,” and was involved in activities with some “friendly prosecutors.” Following the July 15 failed coup attempt, hundreds of prosecutors were dismissed from duty for their alleged links to FETÖ.
Following the forced deportation of the Turkish family minister, De Telegraaf – which also targeted Daily Sabah together with Lenaers – kept quiet about the attacks on members of the press for police aggression in Rotterdam. Moreover, it ran a scandalous headline that read, “We’re the bosses here!” causing anger and frustration among some half a million Turks living in the country.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at an event in Istanbul, said, “Now there are some [people] who seek to ban Daily Sabah at the European Parliament. If they ban a Turkish newspaper, this will have similar consequences in Turkey.”
Copies of Daily Sabah carrying the headline “EU acts as if Dutch attack on democratic rights never happened,” could also be seen in the photograph used by the De Telegraaf. The story described how the European Commission stood silent when Daily Sabah asked if they had anything to say on the physical attack on Turkish journalists by Dutch police officers.
“Do you approve of the Netherlands’ aggression on Saturday night toward Dutch-Turks, Turkish diplomats and journalists? Do you condemn them?” Daily Sabah asked at the EU Commission, only to receive no clear answer