Yasemin Taşkın, a senior correspondent in Rome, with daily Sabah, was sacked with immediate effect today, with no reason given. Sources close to the family say that her firing had to do with the interview her husband, Marco Ansaldo, did with Fethullah Gülen for the respected Italian daily La Repubblica on Friday.
Sabah is owned by a company, Çalık, whose CEO is the son-in-law of Prime Minister Erdoğan. It is the fiercest mouthpiece for the AKP government for some time, particularly since Gezi Park protests in Istanbul.
Meanwhile Fatih Altaylı, editor-in-chief of the mainstream Habertürk newspaper who openly decried government pressure on the media in a television interview last month, said in a column on Saturday that he was stepping down.
“With great regret I see that an era of ‘militant journalism’ has started,” he wrote, decrying what he portrayed as an increasingly polarised media landscape in Turkey with a lack of independent voices.
The corruption scandal and anti-government protests last summer have grown into one of the greatest challenges of Erdoğan’s 11-year rule, and his critics fear that what they see as his authoritarian instincts will only deepen if the AK Party puts in a strong showing in Sunday’s polls.
A senior government official on Friday described the crisis as “one of the biggest in Turkish history”.