Can Dündar, one of the most prominent journalists in Turkey and editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet, escaped unhurt from an assassination attempt by a gunman on May 6th during a break in Dundar’s trial at the Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul in a case related to reports in the newspaper about a shipment of arms from Turkey to Syria.
Murat Sahin, the armed man who was apprehended after the attack, was first restrained by Dündar’s wife and by a member of parliament at the scene. He was then detained by police, and four other suspects were later arrested in connection with the attack.
The gunman was heard to shout “You are a traitor” before he shot at Dündar. Dündar was not hit but a TV reporter was injured in the leg.
Following the shooting, Dundar reportedly said that he did not know the person who shot at him but he knew who had made him into a target for such a person..
As has been widely reported, President Erdogan publicly named Dundar as a spy and traitor several times during the judicial process leading to his trial. The President also challenged a Constitutional Court decision which found that Mr Dundar’s actions related to the reporting of the controversial arms shipment did qualify as journalism.
Later on the day of the gun attack, the Istanbul court sentenced Can Dundar to five years and ten months in prison for revealing state secrets but acquitted him of other espionage charges. Dundar’s colleague Erdem Gul was sentenced to five years, also for revealing secrets.
Both Dundar and Gul said that the court decision was another assassination attempt, this time with law. They declared that such attempts would not scare them into silence.