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Journalist attacked while covering prime minister's visit to Diyarbakir

(BIANET/IFEX) - 3 June 2011 - Journalist Ahmet Yukus of the "Haberturk" national newspaper says he was beaten by the bodyguards of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The incident occurred on 1 June 2011, while the prime minister was paying a visit to the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, as part of his pre-election campaign.

In an interview with BIANET, the journalist explained: "On the way to the airport I was just in front of the election office of Emine Ayna, a candidate for the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block. The Prime Minister's convoy drove by quickly. I ran to take some photographs. Suddenly, I was attacked from the back. First of all, somebody grabbed my shoulder, then they punched me. I was flung on the ground and my head hit the pavement. I suffered injuries to my knee and elbow; my trousers were torn."

Yukus identified the assailants as the prime minister's bodyguards. He went to the Diyarbakir Training and Research Hospital subsequently, where he obtained a three-day sick certificate.

The 31-year-old reporter said, "Everything happened very quickly. I do not understand why they behaved that aggressively and what the aim of the attack actually was."

Yukus is not considering taking legal action.

In a written statement, the Diyarbakir Journalists Association (DGC) condemned the incident, noting that "DGC Board Member and 'Haberturk' newspaper reporter Yukus went to the airport to cover the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan. There, he was beaten by police officers who were appointed on security detail. The people who are responsible for this incident have to be identified."

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