European Federation of Journalists

Turkey: Five journalists attacked in first 15 days of 2021

Screenshot of Yeniçağ interview with Orhan Uğuroğlu (right) after the attack

In these first 15 days of 2021, the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) already recorded five physical attacks against journalists in Turkey. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) together with their affiliate in Turkey, condemn the assaults and call on Turkish authorities to conduct thorough investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable.

In a tweet, the Turkish Journalists Union strongly condemned the attacks and denounced the government’s absence of reaction: “Five journalists and media workers have been attacked in 15 days. There are no government convictions and no sanctions by the judiciary. This is intended to encourage the attackers.”

The five journalists are:

  • İzzet Tınmaz, Voice of Anatolia (Anadolu’nun Sesi) news coordinator. He was beaten with sticks in Aksaray by two unidentified people who had stopped his car. His wrist and waist were severely injured;
  • Murat Uçkaç and Kıymet Sarıyıldız. They were assaulted in front of the courthouse in Aydın while covering a trial.

Within just 24 hours, two journalists critical of the government were attacked in front of their homes in Turkey’s capital:

  • Afşin Hatipoğlu. He is a TV host for KRT TV and a former head of the Grey Wolves, a nationalist group, during the night of 14 January;
  • The next day, Yeniçağ newspaper writer and Ankara representative Orhan Uğuroğlu was beaten with sticks by four assailants in front of his residence. The men attempted to run him over with their car, but the journalist escaped with a light arm injury.

The EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez said: These acts of terror targeting journalists constitute intimidation that must be strongly condemned by Turkish public authorities. We call for a thorough judicial investigation to identify not only the perpetrators but also the instigators of these beatings.”