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Turkish Riot Police Raid Opposition TV Station

Turkish riot police

Turkish riot police stormed the offices belonging to opposition media group Koza Ipek, just days before the weekend election.

Tear gas and water cannon have reportedly been used to quell the protest after an earlier assault on the building.

RT reports:

Media workers have told RT they are being prevented from entering or exiting the building, and broadcasting has been stopped by the police.

“They don’t let me go outside my office,” Emrah Ulker, a journalist from Koza Ipek’s subsidiary Bugun TV told RT by phone from inside the besieged building. “They cut our broadcast, and now we have a black screen, because we are open to all different political views of Turkish society.”

The incident took place outside the offices of Kanalturk and Bugun TV in Istanbul, while footage was broadcast live on Bugun’s website.

It comes days before the country goes to the polls. The media outlet is linked to an Islamic preacher opposed to President Tayyip Recep Erdogan.

There were large scuffles outside the offices, where there was also a heavy police presence. Police seemed to be using pepper spray against those trying to block their path through the gate and into the building.

After a struggle, dozens of police eventually made their way through the crowd and into the building. A water cannon on the street was also used to keep demonstrators away.

The media groups are owned by Koza Ipek Holding, which has links to the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is a political foe of the current Turkish President Erdogan. Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in the United States.

On Tuesday, the authorities took over the management of 22 companies that were owned by Koza Ipek, Reuters reports.

Gulen was once an ally of Erdogan, but the two fell out after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to the preacher opened a corruption investigation against the inner circle of the Turkish president, then prime minister, in 2013. This is believed to have resulted in the crackdown against Gulen.