Turkey: Journalist Güngör Arslan killed in an ambush, suspect arrested
On 19 February 2022, Güngör Arslan, owner, editor-in-chief, and columnist of the daily Ses Kocaeli, was killed in a gun attack in front of his newspaper’s editorial office. The European and the International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) and its Turkish affiliates condemn this brutal killing and call for justice.
Güngör Arslan was shot by an assailant in the chest and in the right leg outside his office in the city of Izmit. He was rushed to a hospital where he died of gunshot wounds.
Kokaeli region governor, Seddar Yavuz, said the authorities had arrested a suspect in connection with the journalist’s killing and recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the attack.
According to media reports, the suspect said in his first statement that “two people had instigated him to commit the crime.” Güngör Arslan was regularly threatened for his reporting over corruption cases, bribery, and clientelism in his media, Ses Kocaeli. Threats escalated into action in April 2020, when a group of unidentified attackers opened fire at the offices of the local newspaper.
In an article published the day before his death, Arslan reported on corruption allegations against Kocaeli Mayor Tahir Büyükakın, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). IFJ and EFJ affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS), said that Arslan’s killers wanted to “silence him” and urged investigators to identify and detain the masterminds behind the killing.
The authorities confirmed there’s an ongoing comprehensive investigation into the murder.
Yolsuzlukları, rüşveti, kayırmaları yazan #GüngörArslan susturulmak için katledildi. Suikastın emrini verenlerin ortaya çıkartılmasını bekliyoruz. Bu dosya tetikçiyle kapatılamaz. Adalet ve İçişleri Bakanlarını göreve çağırıyoruz. pic.twitter.com/ba9ZHCdbHk
— Gazeteciler Sendikası (@TGS_org_tr) February 21, 2022
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We condemn the senseless killing of our colleague Güngör Arslan and urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to find his killers and and the masterminds behind this terrible crime and bring them to justice. We mourn the loss of a brave journalist who did a great job exposing corruption and wrongdoing. We send our condolences to his family, colleagues and friends at this difficult time.”
EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutierrez said: “After the six murders of journalists in Europe last year, this new tragedy demonstrates once again the need for states to put in place increased protection measures. This murderous spiral must be stopped!”