In the latest crackdown on Turkey's media, authorities raided and seized control of the country's largest daily newspaper Zaman, its sister publication Today's Zamanand the Cihan news agency.

[This is the] final stage to change the media structure, ownership structure in Turkey. This is sad, this is tragic in a way. We know that this is a step to change the editorial line altogether, which it did actually, because we see two coverages of the Zaman newspaper - one day before the takeover and the next day. Of course there's a huge difference in terms of coverage.

Asli Tunc, a professor at Istanbul Bilgi University

The takeover, which was backed by the country's courts, was the latest blow in a long-running and deeply personal saga between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen, a 74-year-old Islamic leader based in the US, has been a vocal critic and political opponent of Erdogan and is closely affiliated with the anti-Erdogan Zaman newspaper.

Erdogan has repeatedly accused Gulen of trying to overthrow the government, but Gulen has denied the allegations.

The crackdown comes at an already worrying time for press freedom with several media outlets in Turkey also being targeted. 

Last year, two editors of the Cumhuriyet newspaper were accused of treason over their story, which alleged that Turkey was arming rebel fighters in Syria.

When the country's highest court ordered their release from jail, Erdogan announced that he would not respect the ruling, setting the stage for a showdown between the government, the courts and the media.

Talking us through the story are: Sevgi Akarcesme, editor-in-chief of Today's Zaman; Banu Guven, a TV anchor for IMC; Jane Kandur, a columnist with Daily Saba; and Asli Tunc, a professor at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Source: Al Jazeera