05 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 03 Jun 2019 n° 61/2019 Turkey

Turkish Journalists Beaten, Shot by Unknown Groups

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
Between 20 and 25 May 2019, there have been three individual attacks against journalists in cities of Ankara, Adana and Antalya. On 20 May, Ergin Çevik, chief editor of the local news website, Güney Haberci in Antalya, was attacked by three assailants after he reported on corruption allegations in the municipality of Kundu district. The attackers first went to his office asking for his whereabouts, reportedly saying they were bringing "greetings from Kundu”. Çevik said that the group found him in a restaurant later and asked “Are you the journalist Ergin?” before assaulting him. On 24 May, another local journalist and the founder of Egemen newspaper in Adana province, Hakan Denizli, was shot in the leg by an unknown gunman in the morning in front of his house. According to local reports, Denizli had previously been targeted and assaulted several times because of his work. Denizli’s health is reported to be stable. The most recent attack took place in Ankara, targeting Oda TV columnist and commentator Sabahattin Önkibar on 25 May. Önkibar was stopped by two cars while he was on his way home and beaten up by a group of individuals. Prior to the attack, Önkibar had reportedly commented on television about the mayoral re-election in Istanbul, criticizing ruling AKP-MHP coalition. Four suspects in the attack were taken into custody by police but released on bail on 27 May. On 28 May, the MHP filed a criminal complaint against Önkibar for “constantly insulting MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli whether in his columns or his speeches”. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli earlier published a list of journalists on a paid advert in newspapers, targeting journalists for their critiques of MHP in the run-up to national elections in June 2018. Önkibar’s name was among the listed names.
Follow-ups
03 Jun 2019
OSCE Media Freedom Representative strongly condemns shooting of journalist Hakan Denizli, expresses alarm about dire safety conditions in Turkey.
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