The IPI global network today condemned the physical assaults against several journalists in Istanbul covering protests against the murder of a Kurdish family. IPI calls on the Turkish authorities to hold those responsible to account and ensure journalist safety.
On July 31, a group of assailants, using iron rods, attacked reporters Derya Saadet and Ceylan Bulut from Sendika.org; Taylan Öztaş from Özgür Gelecek; Enes Sezgin and Rojin Altay from Mezopotamya News Agency; and Hayri Tunç from Fersude News after the journalists covered a press statement made by the Istanbul Labor Peace and Democracy Forces on the racially motivated murder of a family of seven in Konya, a conservative city in central Anatolia.
— sendika.org (@sendika_org) July 31, 2021
Sezgin, who wasn’t heard from for hours, was taken to Taksim Research Hospital. Öztaş from Özgür Gelecek went to the hospital to report the assault. However, both journalists were then detained there, as were those who attacked them.
On August 1, based on the statements of those who attacked them, Sezgin and Öztaş were sent to the peace court of criminal jurisdiction. After their statements were taken, they were released under juridical control.
“These heinous attacks on journalists are intolerable. The Turkish authorities must hold those responsible to account and ensure the safety of journalists”, IPI Turkey ProgrammeCoordinator Renan Akyavaş said. “It is critical for freedom of press that the perpetrators of these attacks face criminal consequences. Impunity for assailants has fostered the current uptick in physical attacks against journalists in Turkey. The authorities should take action immediately to address this problem.”
Physical violence against journalists is becoming more common by the day in Turkey. Many journalists are exposed to physical violence by both the police and extremist political groups. IPI has repeatedly called attention to physical attacks that occurred in recent months.