Journalist Ismail Arı, who works for the BirGün daily, said on Twitter he was threatened by Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Ahmet Akay after publishing a video of Akay’s lawyer holding an illegal weapon.
Arı said he contacted Akay to ask if he had any comments about the video. “When asked about the video, Akay threatened to make my life miserable,” he said. “When I told him he was threatening me, Akay continued the insults and threats.”
Akay’s threats sparked outrage among journalists, who expressed solidarity with Arı on social media.
BirGün said they fully supported Arı and condemned politicians who thought they could threaten journalists. “We hope politicians’ enmity towards journalists ends immediately,” they said.
"BirGün olarak muhabirimize yönelik tehdidi kınıyor ve siyasilerin gazetecilere yönelik düşmanca tutumunun son bulmasını temenni ediyoruz." https://t.co/VpvupNPVeM
— Berkant Gültekin (@GultekinBerkant) February 10, 2022
Mehmet Emin Kurnaz, another journalist working for BirGün, said the incident was a disgrace.
Arkadaşımızı perişan edemezsin, ancak böyle kendini rezil edersin. Tabi birazcık utanman varsa.. https://t.co/S3h5BbtUhU
— Mehmet Emin Kurnaz (@m_emin_kurnaz) February 10, 2022
Journalist Bilal Çelik said politicians often threatened journalists when confronted with difficult questions. “Politicians are trying to create an atmosphere of fear but will not succeed,” he added.
Turkish journalists are often targeted and jailed for their journalistic activities. According to the latest report by the “Cost of News,” four journalists were attacked or subjected to violence in October.
Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailers of professional journalists and is ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).