ISTANBUL Aug 9 The editor of a leading Turkish
newspaper has resigned ahead of Sunday's presidential election
after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan slammed the news coverage of
the paper's owner, the Dogan media group.
Rights groups have frequently expressed concerns about
government pressure on the media in Turkey, drawing attention to
the widespread firing of editors and reporters.
An opposition MP and media reports linked Friday's departure
of Enis Berberoglu from the mainstream Hurriyet daily to such
pressure, but the paper dismissed the allegations as "political
scenarios" and said he left of his own accord.
"Enis Berberoglu deliberately decided to announce his
decision before the presidential election so that no political
meaning was attributed to it," its statement said.
Berberoglu himself has not commented publicly.
Erdogan is poised to become Turkey's first popularly elected
president in Sunday's election, but his tightening grip on power
has polarised the nation and raised fears of creeping
Erdogan, who has long been at odds with the Dogan group,
rejects allegations of growing restrictions on media freedom,
saying his government has boosted press freedom since it first
came to power 12 years ago.
He sharply criticised the Dogan group in an election rally
on Thursday, accusing it of airing anti-Muslim comments on one
of its television channels and of pro-Israeli bias in its
coverage of the conflict in Gaza.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Alison Williams)