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Offices of two Turkish newspapers attacked with guns, molotov cocktails

This statement was originally published on bianet.org on 11 February 2016.

Click here to read the article in Turkish / Haberin Türkçesi için buraya tıklayın

The International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) have denounced an attack carried out with arms and molotov cocktails on [the offices of] Yeni Şafak and Yeni Akit newspapers.

IPI: Outcome of hostile climate

In its statement, IPI has emphasized that the attack is an outcome of the “hostile climate” generated by government's speeches targeting critical media, and the attack against Hürriyet daily and journalist Ahmet Hakan going unpunished.

The statement – signed by IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications, Steven M. Ellis – said, "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."

TGC: Democracy is regime of tolerance

TGC has demanded the perpetrators to be found as soon as possible in its statement saying, “Democracy is [a] regime of tolerating different opinions. It is not a regime of uniform human, uniform journalist, and uniform news”.

Bihr: Hatred speech must be abandoned

RSF Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, Johann Bihr stated, "This use of violence is yet further evidence of the dangerous level of polarization in Turkish society. We urge the government, political class and news media of all political tendencies to renounce aggressive rhetoric and the language of hate once and for all.”

What happened?

In the early morning hours, an attack with molotov cocktails and gun shots was carried out on Yeni Akit and Yeni Şafak newspapers' office buildings.

The attack was carried out on the building of Yeni Şafak daily, located in Bayrampaşa at around 5 a.m by unidentified 3-4 persons with masks and with molotov cocktails and guns. It was reported that the assailants had thrown a molotov cocktail at the entrance door and opened fire on the windows with long-barrelled weapons. The fire at the door was later extinguished by security staff.

At around 5:30 a.m., another attack was carried out against Akit Media Group's building in Küçükçekmece, where Yeni Akit daily is located. It was reported that molotov cocktails were thrown at the parking area, and a pick-up truck parked in front of the building and that fire was opened on the building with long-barrelled weapons.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • RSF condemns attacks on newspapers, appeals for calm

    The past few months have seen a series of targeted attacks on news providers. The well-known journalist Ahmet Hakan was assaulted outside his home in September after being the target of aggressive verbal attacks in the pro-government daily Star. A few weeks before that, angry demonstrators attacked the Istanbul headquarters of the daily Hürriyet twice. And a bomb was defused outside the Star headquarters in July. Yeni Akit and Yeni Safak are well known for waging vitriolic verbal campaigns against government critics and all those who oppose their Islamist and nationalist editorial line.

  • Pro-government newspapers attacked in Turkey

    “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.”

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