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Journalist assaulted for second time in three months

(BIANET/IFEX) - 19 January 2011 - Journalist Cetin Yilmaz was attacked by bodyguards for Necmi Kadioglu, the mayor of the Esenyurt district of Istanbul. This was the second assault on the journalist given that he was attacked by bodyguards for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in November 2010.

As reported by "Evrensel" newspaper on 18 January 2011, Yilmaz, concessionaire of the local "Alternatif Dogus" (Alternative Generation) newspaper, was identified as a target by Mayor Kadioglu and beaten by his bodyguards.

It was reported that Kadioglu suddenly interrupted a speech he was delivering at a meeting of the Esenyurt Builders Association when he spotted Yilmaz in the audience. He apparently asked him, "Who are you? Who invited you here? I know you are from a gang. I am not afraid of you." When Yilmaz rose to his feet to reply, he was reportedly assaulted by the bodyguards.

Kadioglu supposedly poured out insults against judges during his speech. When he realized that an Ekin TV press team was recording his speech, he allegedly directed his bodyguards' attention to Yilmaz and the cameraman.

Yilmaz attended the meeting upon the invitation of Adnan Gunes, the head of the builders association. The journalist described the incident as follows:

"After the mayor had pointed at me, calling me the leader of a gang, his bodyguards and supporters walked over to me and took me out of the room. They took the cassette from the Ekin TV cameraman by force and physically harassed me . . . I am sick to start off with. I could have died in the attack. Afterwards I went to the Esenyurt State Hospital and submitted a statement which documents that I was beaten. Subsequently, I filed a criminal complaint against the mayor and his bodyguards."

In late 2010, Yilmaz filed another criminal complaint, claiming that he had been beaten by Saffet Demirci, who is alleged to be a bodyguard for Prime Minister Erdogan.

In a separate case, the Elmali (Antalya) Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation against 80 people on the basis of a press release issued by the Alevi Culture Association in the village of Elmali Tekke during the "Asura Festival". The press release protested the opening of a marble quarry next to the Abdal Musal Tomb.

Among those being investigated is a nine-year old child and journalist Dilek Omaklilar, who attended the event in the course of her work for "Evrensel" newspaper.

The Alevi Culture Association's Konyaalti Branch protested against the investigation in an announcement made at Kislahan Square. Nuriye Cicek announced on behalf of the branch: "The prosecution opened an investigation against the vast majority of those present at the issuing of the press release and called them to the police station in the middle of the night to take their statements."

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