Turkish authorities have earned a reputation for handing out prison terms to journalists in recent months.
But Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sought to project a very different relationship with the press during a visit from his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras.
Female journalists were filmed accepting red roses just days after the country’s biggest newspaper was taken over by the authorities.
Zaman, previously linked to an opponent of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been running pro-government articles since the seizure last Friday (March 4).
The love-affair with pro-government media only highlights the split that has emerged within the country, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who earlier told Euronews that press freedom in Turkey was in a disastrous state.
Johann Bihr, head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, said: “There are many pro-government journalists in Turkey, and most of them don’t share the concerns of their colleagues of the independent and opposition media.
“Actually, some segments of the pro-government press are even increasingly a part of the problem: they tend to use more and more often a language of hatred towards independent journalists, calling them traitors, terrorists and spies from Monday to Sunday.
“Beyond these cases, Erdogan has built a very symbiotic relationship with some pro-government journalists: during several electoral meetings over the past few years, he invited them to join him on stage instead of doing their job among the audience.
“So, I’m not surprised to see these female journalists performing as women rather than journalists.”
The handing out of flowers to female journalists was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day.