German authorities must fully investigate the circulation of so-called “execution lists” targeting Turkish regime critics in Germany, including a number of journalists, the IPI global network said today.
A German interior ministry official today said the government was examining the matter in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Left Party MP Helin Evrim Sommer. The official, Helmut Teichmann, said that “there is tangible information that there are several lists [circulated online] concerning a number of people who are critical of the Turkish government”.
On July 16, German police warned Başlangıç, the Cologne-based editor of the newspaper Artı Gerçek and television channel, about the existence of an “execution list” circulated online that reportedly includes the 55 names including Turkish journalists, activists and artists that are living in Germany, including Başlangıç. German police reported that the investigation into these lists had been expanded after the attack on Berlin-based journalist Erk Acarer earlier in July and confirmed the existence of an “execution list” for at least 21 journalists, artists, intellectuals, and writers critical of the Turkish government which was shared by an anonymous Twitter account called “jitemkurt” recently.
In addition to Başlangıç and Acarer, the lists reportedly include the names of prominent journalists Can Dündar, Hayko Bağdat, Fehim Işık and Ahmet Nesin.
“These so-called execution lists and the recent physical attacks on Turkish journalists living in Germany demonstrate that the safety of independent journalists is in great danger even in Germany. The German authorities must treat this situation with utmost seriousness and take all necessary action to ensure the safety of critical journalists living in their country”, IPI Turkey Program Coordinator Renan Akyavaş said.
“It is abhorrent that critics of the Turkish government are being targeted abroad, and Germany must make absolutely clear that it will not tolerate attacks on journalists on its soil, and that it will hold to account anyone responsible for planning acts of violence against the press.”
On July 7, Artı TV journalist Acarer was assaulted at his home by three assailants who broke into the backyard of his building in Berlin. Acarer said the next day that one of the assailants was shouting “You will not write anymore” as they were hitting him with fists on the floor. IPI and a number of journalist associations condemned this heinous attack.
Later on July 20, Acarer announced on his Twitter account that an egg wrapped in paper with the threatening message “You’ll see!” was thrown at his home. Acarer said that he would hold the Turkish government alliance AKP-MHP supporters and the German government responsible for any new incidents that might happen to him, saying that he thought the German authorities had not responded strongly enough to the attacks.
A statement by the German Journalists Association (DJV) published on July 23 reported that there are at least 55 names on the lists including journalists, and called on German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas to make clear to the Turkish ambassador that “a line was crossed”.