Police raid media outlets close to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and detain top executives and ex-police chiefs in an apparent escalation of President Erdogan's battle with his former ally - and are an attempt, say some journalists, to gag the media and opposition. David Pollard reports.
A ''day of shame for Turkey''. Opponents of President Erdogan make their feelings clear outside the Istanbul HQ of Samanyolu TV - one of two major media outlets raided by the authorities. The Samanyolu group chief exec was one of over 24 people detained - who also included two former police chiefs. Mustafa Yesil is a journalists' and writers' spokesman. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) CHAIRMAN OF JOURNALISTS AND WRITERS FOUNDATION, MUSTAFA YESIL, SAYING: "These were the only anti-government media outlets. Maybe millions were expressing themselves through these media outlets. The autocratic regime controlled by one person is now trying to prevent this too but people have no intention to let him." The EU's also been quick to denounce the raids - as incompatible with European values. While the US State Department called for the government to protect democracy. They appear to mark a serious escalation in a feud between President Erdogan and the Muslim cleric Fethulla Gulen. Gulen - a former ally of Erdogan who lives in a compound in Pennsylvania - is accused of establishing a parallel structure in the state through supporters in the judiciary, police and media. The cleric denies any ambition to overthrow Erdogan. Security forces also raided the offices of the Zaman newsaper. Zaman's editor, Ekrem Dumanli, warned that Erdogan may go even further. SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) EDITOR OF ZAMAN NEWSPAPER EKREM DUMANLI, SAYING: "Everybody is being made suspects and the next step would be suspending the parliament because freedom of expression has two legs. One is the media, the other is parliament. If you silence us here, the only institution left will be parliament. You will ruin Turkey" NATO allies often cited Turkey as an example of a successful Muslim democracy. More recently critics have accused Erdogan of intolerance of dissent and, increasingly, a divisive reversion to Islamist roots. On Friday, the president promised to pursue Gulen's Hizmet organisation into their ''lairs''.