ISTANBUL - The European Commission will examine the tax levy imposed on Turkey's Doğan Media Group, or DMG, the country's biggest media company.
Belgian Member of European Parliament Frank Vanhecke submitted a motion to the commission regarding the levy. The European Commission said the issue would be examined and a response would be given to the motion.
DMG was fined around $500 million in tax penalties over claims it had not fulfilled its liabilities on time during the sale of 25 percent of Doğan TV to Axel Springer for 375 million euros. Turkey's leading press association has said the move was aimed at silencing critical reporting.
"Has the commission investigated this important issue and obtained the outcomes that should be reached? Have freedom of expression and freedom of press been violated in this incident?" Vanhecke asked in the motion. "What influence does this have on the current accession negotiations, in view of the commission’s position that freedom of expression and press freedom are the litmus test for Turkey," he said.
The Doğan Group, which owns top selling dailies, including Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, has been the target of harsh criticism from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has called on supporters not to buy the group's newspapers after they ran stories alleging government corruption.