The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned an armed attack on the Istanbul offices of two pro-government newspapers in Turkey this morning by masked attackers firing long-barrelled guns and throwing Molotov cocktails.

No casualties were reported in the attacks targeting dailiesYeni Şafak and Yeni Akit. Both offices, however, suffered some damage.

Local reports indicated that three to four assailants first targeted Yeni Şafak at 5 a.m., opening fire on the building’s entrance and causing a fire that was extinguished by building security. At 5:30 a.m., a similar attack was launched on Yeni Akit. Firefighters responding to the second attack extinguished a blaze in a pickup truck parked outside the office that was hit by a Molotov cocktail.

IPI said that the attacks appeared to be the result of a hostile climate created by government officials’ rhetoric targeting critical media outlets and ongoing impunity for those behind violent attacks on the offices of daily newspaper Hürriyet and one of its columnists last fall ahead of a bitterly contested snap parliamentary election.

“The failure to bring anyone to justice for the attacks by angry mobs on Hürriyet‘s offices last year sent a signal that those who don’t like journalists and media outlets criticising government policies could attack them with impunity,” IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said. “It comes as little surprise that others who would resort to violence to silence speech with which they disagree took heed of that message and that violence has now spread to target pro-government media as well.”

He added: “While we are confident that authorities will investigate today’s attacks, we urge them to put similar energy into bringing those behind last fall’s attacks to justice. Authorities must ensure that anyone who attacks a journalist – be they private individuals, elements of organised crime or even representatives of the state, such as members of the police or security forces – be held accountable for their actions. We also strongly urge authorities to stop labelling journalists who report on government misdeeds as “traitors” or “terrorist supporters”, and to end their tacit support for online hate campaigns targeting journalists.”