By Halil Ibrahim Baser
Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is behind the decision to ban the Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, from the European Parliament in Brussels, according to the English-language daily’s editor-in-chief Friday.
Parliament President Antonio Tajani imposed the ban on the daily on Wednesday following Dutch lawmaker Jeroen Lenaers’ complaint.
Editor-in-Chief Serdar Karagoz accused the Dutch lawmaker of being in contact with FETO members in the Netherlands.
Responding to Lenaers claim the newspaper made "hate broadcasts", Karagoz said the daily had been distributed to members of European Parliament for three years without any complaint.
"We made news about the structuring of the FETO. The Dutch lawmaker was disturbed by this. We see that this person is constantly in contact with the structure of the FETO in his country and he uses their discourse against Turkey.
"He is interested in advocating for some FETO members in jail... So, we see the FETO lobby was behind the decision to ban the Daily Sabah newspaper in the European Parliament. We see the influence of some politicians that FETO has influenced and bought in some way," Karagoz said.
The editor-in-chief said there is a continuous disinformation campaign against Turkey in the European Parliament.
"We, therefore, want the parliamentarians to read our newspaper," he said.
He said he expected international bodies working to protect and promote journalism to voice its objection over this move, but "so far, no explanation or objection has been made.
"We see a very serious double standard in Europe and in these international journalism organizations," he added.
He said when it comes to their own interests, Europeans seem to forget about freedom of thought or human rights.
"We have seen in a very clear way in the past month that there has been no sincerity, truth behind criticisms or freedom of the press and democracy...They use them as a tool to oppress Turkey.
"As a result of these events, we have seen that Europe is far from its own values," he said.
He added: "They do not want journalists who criticize. They want freedom of the press for media organizations that serve their own interests."
The ban on distribution of the newspaper was confirmed to Daily Sabah by the parliament’s media office on Thursday.
According to the newspaper, Lenaers launched a “hate campaign” against it after its sister publication ran an article on alleged Fetullah Terrorist Organization members in the Netherlands.
Ankara holds FETO responsible for orchestrating July 2016’s defeated coup that resulted in 249 deaths.
In a statement over the weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would retaliate if the newspaper was banned.
On Thursday, the Directorate General of Press and Information condemned the decision as a “black mark” in press history.