The Zaman group, owned by the Gülen Movement, published the Zaman daily and the English-language daily, Today's Zaman, as well as the Samanyolu TV, Cihan News Agency and the Aksiyon political weekly. The group effectively used its media channels for the propaganda of the Gülen Movement and financed this massive operation through donations and charity money obtained for the poor and the needy but which was used instead to prop up media establishments.
So the organization, which claimed to promote Islamic values, was in fact committinga great sin using charity money for its own economic purposes.
Was the group making money? The group was using funds obtained through donations as well as subscriptions for its newspapers and weekly to keep the operation going. That is why the newspaper did not work on the counter sales but relied on subscriptions, which were forced upon its followers or other people sympathetic to the Islamic cause in Turkey. It was supposed to be selling around 800,000 copies as Zaman newspaper and yet the real sales were not more than 100,000. The same was valid for Today's Zaman and the weekly Aksiyon. Despite this the group suffered financial losses and covered these by fooling benevolent people and using their charity money for their own benefit.
The Feza Company, which owned the media group, was handed over to receivership by court order. The group was misusing funds, which is prohibited by law.
Yet, the group has claimed that this was an attempt to silence the press. The fact that the group has a strong lobby abroad helps them to mislead international public opinion and create the impression that press freedom is in jeopardy in Turkey. That is why Human Rights Watch and the U.S. State Department have condemned the move to send the media group into receivership. Yet if they did some investigation into the issue they would see the naked truth.
At the moment the Amsterdam Law Company in the U.S. is probing all the dealings of the Gülen Movement in the U.S. along with the FBI and have already come up with some very interesting facts that may well be fatal for Gülen's organization in the U.S.
Some people may accuse the government of scuttling the Zaman group yet they have to see the fact that the media group has been spreading damaging misinformation and lies that not only criticize the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan but are openly harmful to Turkey's national security. Yet the reason why they are going down is not what they write and say. It is the fact that they have people with good intentions using their money for their own goals.
My family, the Çevik family, owned Turkey's first and only English-language newspaper in Turkey, the Turkish Daily News, which was an extremely objective and authoritative newspaper acclaimed by the international community as well as the intellectuals of Turkey. The newspaper was pushed into financial disaster by the military in the 1990s because it supported the Kurdish cause in Turkey as well as strongly backing the silent masses with Islamic sensitivities. The paper was pushed into the hands of the Doğan Group and its name was changed to Hürriyet Daily News.
So if what the Gülen Movement did was right then we should have collected donations from the masses with religious sensitives telling them that this money is for the needy and then used it to bail out the newspaper.