ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper has named a new editor-in-chief, it said late on Wednesday, a day after strong criticism of the prominent daily by President Tayyip Erdogan for a story suggesting discord between the government and the army.
In a statement to the Istanbul stock exchange, Hurriyet said it had decided to appowint veteran journalist Fikret Bila as editor and as a member of its executive board.
He replaced Sedat Ergin, the paper said in a brief statement, without giving a reason.
Hurriyet is part of the Dogan Holding conglomerate, whose founder was summoned on Wednesday to appear in court over fuel smuggling accusations.
Aydin Dogan, 80, who ran the media-to-energy conglomerate until 2010 and is now honorary chairman, is a prominent figure in Turkey’s secular establishment and has long had strained ties with Erdogan and the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party.
His group faces charges it ran a fuel-smuggling ring a decade ago and Dogan and Isbank’s Ersin Ozince, 64, face up to 24-1/2 years in prison on charges of setting up a criminal gang, smuggling and fraud.
This is the first time, however, that Dogan has been summoned to court in the case, rather than being represented by his lawyer. Dogan and Ozince have denied any wrongdoing.
Hurriyet drew fire for a Feb. 25 story saying, among other things, that the government had not sought the opinion of the army before lifting a ban on women wearing the headscarf - a sign of Islamic piety - in the military.
The headline was seen as implying discord between the army and government - a matter of some sensitivity after a failed coup attempt last July by rogue officers - and was criticised by Erdogan on Tuesday.
Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Clarence Fernandez