An attack against exiled Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt should be thoroughly investigated, the International Federation of Journalists said in a statement yesterday.
Bozkurt, who is living in exile in Sweden, was attacked near his home in Stockholm on September 24. Shortly after he left his apartment in a suburb of the Swedish capital, Bozkurt was attacked by three men who knocked him to the ground, punched him and then fled the area. Bozkurt sustained injuries to his face, head, arms and legs and was treated in an emergency ward, according to Nordic Monitor.
The statement said the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) stand in solidarity with Bozkurt and join the Swedish Union of Journalists in calling for a thorough investigation into the attack.
Ulrika Hyllert, president of the Swedish Union of Journalists, said: “It is a very serious crime that Abdullah Bozkurt was subjected to. It is important that it is properly investigated by the police and that those responsible … be brought to justice.”
“Being forced into exile to Sweden, Abdullah Bozkurt continued to do his job as an independent journalist,” IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said. “It is crucial to investigate thoroughly how his journalistic activity is related to the incident, how the attack was planned, and to bring those responsible to court.”
Bozkurt told the Journalisten news website that he did not know the men but assumed it was a targeted attack because he had been paid a visit the day before. When he was standing on his balcony on September 23, three men called to him from the street below, asking him to come down and talk, said Bozkurt. He refused, went inside and filmed the men walking away. The footage was handed over to the police, according to Journalisten.
“I do not have the evidence yet to conclude that it was directly linked to my work. However, given the fact that I receive constant threats all the time and the assailants were waiting outside, purposely targeted me as soon as I got out of my home, that suggests it was deliberate and most likely connected to what I published before,” Bozkurt told the IFJ.
“Hopefully Swedish authorities will be able to explain how it was planned, who was involved and what the motivation was after a thorough investigation,” he added.
Bozkurt and his team of journalists in Sweden run the Nordic Monitor news website, which provides exclusive and critical coverage on Turkey and exposes the clandestine activities of the notorious Turkish intelligence agency.
Established in 1926, the IFJ is the world’s largest organization of journalists. It represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries. The organization also speaks for journalists within the United Nations system and the international trade union movement.