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Turkey: Possible political motive in influential blogger's death

Ferdi Özmen/Facebook

This article was originally published on rsf.org on 7 November 2014.

Reporters Without Borders urges the police and judicial authorities to shed all possible light on the murder of Ferdi Özmen, an influential Turkish blogger and government critic who had 27,000 followers on Twitter.

Türkçe / Read in Turkish

The possibility that this young blogger's death was politically-motivated and linked to his social network activities should be thoroughly examined.

A gunmen shot Ferdi Özmen after forcing him to get out of his car in a car park in the Sariyer district of Istanbul on the evening of 23 October. He died of his injuries in a nearby hospital.

As well as his popular tweets, Özmen hosted a radio programme targeting the northern Black Sea province of Orda that was transmitted on social networks. He was an advocate of the secular and nationalist policies of the Turkish Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

“We are deeply shocked by this targeted murder, which was clearly planned and was carried out in a public place, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to Özmen's family,” said Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “Those conducting the investigation must examine all hypotheses and take appropriate account of this bloggers online activities.”

In June 2013, Özmen appeared before an Istanbul magistrate's court on a charge of insulting then Prime Minister (and now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Facebook messages during the “Occupy Gezi” anti-government protests.

Turkey is ranked 154th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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