Five journalists attacked in Turkey in 2021

  • 19 Jan 2021

Erdogan's government must make progress on ensuring media freedom and the safety of journalists.

In the first 15 days of 2021, the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) has already recorded five physical attacks against journalists.

The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ), together with their affiliate in Turkey, have condemned the assaults and call on the Turkish authorities to conduct thorough investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable.

In a tweet, the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) strongly condemned the attacks and denounced the government's absence of reaction:

"Five journalists and media workers have been attacked in 15 days. There are no government convictions and no sanctions by the judiciary. This is intended to encourage the attackers."

The five journalists are:

  • İzzet Tınmaz, Voice of Anatolia (Anadolu'nun Sesi) news coordinator, was beaten with sticks in Aksaray by two unidentified people who had stopped his car. His wrist and waist were severely injured;
  • Murat Uçkaç and Kıymet Sarıyıldız were assaulted in front of the courthouse in Aydın while covering a trial.

Just within 24 hours, two journalists critical of the government were attacked in front of their homes in Turkey's capital:

  • Afşin Hatipoğlu, a TV host for KRT TV and a former head of the Grey Wolves, a nationalist group, during the night of 14 January;
  • The next day, Yeniçağ newspaper writer and Ankara representative Orhan Uğuroğlu was beaten with sticks by four assailants in front of his residence. The men attempted to run him over with their car, but the journalist escaped with a light arm injury.

Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ general secretary, said:

"These acts of terror targeting journalists constitute intimidation that must be strongly condemned by Turkish public authorities. We call for a thorough judicial investigation to identify not only the perpetrators but also the instigators of these beatings."

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"Journalists cannot continue to face violence on a daily basis. These attacks in Turkey demonstrate the lack of safety for our colleagues and a total disrespect for their work and press freedom in general. Erdogan's government must take steps, once and for all, to make progress on ensuring the safety of journalists and enabling freedom of media workers in the country".

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