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Journalist Rasim Ozan Kütahyali assaulted by youth leader

(BIANET/IFEX) - Far-right Great Union Party (BBP) Istanbul youth branch chair Mustafa Kayatuzu physically attacked "Taraf" daily columnist Rasim Ozan Kütahyali when he mentioned BBP leader Muhsin Yazicioglu's involvement in the Maras massacre during a television show. Yazicioglu recently died in a helicopter accident.

Kütahyali was leaving a talk show at Kanal 7 on 11 April 2009 when Kayatuzu attacked him. He fainted and was taken to a hospital. Following a complaint, Kayatuzu now faces legal action.

Kütahyali's lawyer, Ergin Cinmen, argued that this assault should be taken as "an attempt to debar someone from expressing political or philosophical ideas" as described in Article 115 of the Penal Code. If accepted by the court, this crime carries a heavier penalty than sole physical assault.

Right-wing paramilitaries killed more than 100 people in Maras during the five-day incident in 1978. Yazicioglu was then a leading figure in rightist circles. Although he was never tried for planning and inciting the events, his role is widely accepted.

Kayatuzu said he was sorry after attacking Kütahyali. The columnist said he knew Kayatuzu previously and received a blow from him as he was greeting him after the TV show.

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