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Turkish journalists strike back over Kilic assault

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(dt/es)  Ankara / Vienna  June 29, 2021

Turkish journalists demonstrated in front of government offices over police violence against the prize-winning Kurdish AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç  arrested while covering a Pride demonstration in Istanbul. The assault, subject of a formal AEJ complaint to Turkey, has also been registered on the Council of Europe Platform to protect journalists.

Writer Prof Dogan Tilic, AEJ honorary Vice-President, transmitted this message from journalists’ associations: “Public officials who use violence against journalists are committing crimes, and we must stop this trend together…

“It is the public duty of the journalist to follow and report the citizens who took to the streets to seek their rights in Turkey. Our colleagues have recently started to face severe violence while carrying out their duties on behalf of the whole society.

Prof Tilic – journalists in “extreme danger”

“What happened has reached a very dangerous level. Many journalists who tried to watch the protest action in Taksim (Square) were beaten…prevented from taking images, the images on their machines were seized to be deleted.

“But now journalists face death while doing their job. The latest example of this is the violence suffered by Bülent Kılıç. The police, who unfairly and unlawfully prevented Kılıç from performing his duty, displayed violence that could result in death by pressing the neck of our colleague, who had been laid on the ground, with his knee.

Protests in front of Governor’s Office, Izmir

The press and media statement said the police action “did not just leave our colleague breathless” but also the public’s right to the truth. The Interior Ministry circular aimed at preventing journalists from taking pictures of the demonstration is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in the Council of State.

Journalists were called on to leave cameras and notebooks in front of the Governor’s Office in three provinces in protest: “We will not take for granted, we will never accept violence against journalists…We will break this blockade with solidarity!”

LINKS:

CoE – June 28, 2021  CoE Platform alert on Kilic assault 

AEJ April 1, 2021 – EU leaders in Turkey urged to emphasize press freedom

AEJ October 15, 2020 –  Turkish state capture of media “choking press freedom”

Turkey abandons Convention to protect women

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