Jeroen Lenaers, a Christian Democrat and Dutch member of the European Parliament, recently called for an investigation into finding who brought copies of Daily Sabah to the European Parliament and demanded the newspaper be banned from its premises, in a letter addressed to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. Now, it has emerged that Lenaers had previously spoken to a newspaper owned by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the now defunct Zaman, and called on Ankara to release Mehmet Baransu, a suspected FETÖ reporter, who faces multiple criminal charges.
Lenaers had also shared tweets of a fugitive FETÖ suspect, Abdullah Bozkurt, who targets Daily Sabah with false claims, on his Twitter account.
Baransu stands trial over major plots, including two regarding secularist members of the Turkish army and the Fenerbahçe sports club.
His ex-spouse had revealed to the media she was threatened by Baransu. She also claimed that the reporter received money from "some people," and was involved in activities with some "friendly prosecutors." Following the July coup attempt, hundreds of prosecutors were dismissed from duty for their alleged links to FETÖ.
In an article published on Dutch daily De Telegraaf, Daily Sabah was accused of spreading hate. The daily tried to convince its readers by pointing to an article that was published in the Turkish-language newspaper, Sabah, a sister newspaper of Daily Sabah.
In the article, Sabah had exposed the FETÖ structure in the Netherlands. This investigative report on the terror group that killed almost 300 people in an attempted military coup, not only upset the Dutch newspaper, but also led to the targeting of the only Turkish daily present at the European Parliament.
Following the forced deportation of the Turkish family minister, De Telegraaf kept quiet about the attacks on members of the press. Moreover, it ran a scandalous headline that read, "We're the bosses here!" causing anger and frustration among some half a million Turks living in the country.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at an event in Istanbul, said, "Now there are some [people] who seek to ban Daily Sabah at the European Parliament. If they ban a Turkish newspaper, this will have similar consequences in Turkey."
Copies of Daily Sabah carrying the headline "EU acts as if Dutch attack on democratic rights never happened," could also be seen in the photograph used by the De Telegraaf. The story described how the European Commission stood silent when Daily Sabah asked if they had anything to say on the physical attack on Turkish journalists by Dutch police officers.
"Do you approve of the Netherlands' aggression on Saturday night toward Dutch-Turks, Turkish diplomats and journalists? Do you condemn them?" Daily Sabah asked at the EU Commission, only to receive no clear answer.
Although Lenaers's request to ban a young English-language newspaper that has proven itself over the past three years got no response from the European Parliament, the Turkish media were expecting President Tajani to break his silence on the attacks on Turkish media members by Dutch police, politicians and media.