European Federation of Journalists

Journalist critical of the government severely beaten-up in Turkey

Turkish Journalist Yavuz Selim Demirag was violently attacked by a group of unidentified men armed with baseball bats on May 10 in Ankara. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemn the aggression and urge the authorities to protect press freedom.

Yavuz, a critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and supporter of an opposition party, was attacked after appearing on a TV Show on Friday night. He was immediately sent to the hospital, his newspaper The Yenicag said. His life is not in danger, however.

The assault happened in a context of growing political tensions in Turkey after the ruling party AKP demanded a re-run of the mayoral elections in Istanbul, which was initially won by the opposition. The authorities ordered a revote on June 23.

Six persons allegedly involved in the attack were arrested, but they were freed a day later on the grounds that the journalist’s injuries were not life-threatening. The OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, said he was “shocked” by their release.

The IFJ/EFJ said: “No to impunity, in Turkey and everywhere else. We  condemn the latest attack against journalist Yavuz Selim Demirag.  It seems press freedom in Turkey continues to decline.”

Credit: Türkiyem TV