A local journalist in central Turkey’s Konya province was assaulted and threatened on Sunday by Hasan Yazar, a member of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), over an exposé he had published, the Duvar news website reported.
Journalist Özcan Saraç was on his mobile phone when he was punched and threatened with death by Yazar. According to Saraç he was assaulted for exposing the wrongdoings of Hüseyin Oprukçu, the party’s district chair.
“My only concern is to inform the public about Oprukçu’s wrong policies. Oprukçu has been involved in fraud, and people need to know about it,” Saraç said. “A party member threatening and assaulting me in the middle of the street will not keep me silent.”
Saraç called on the MHP and the party’s leader, Devlet Bahçeli, to take action against Yazar. “This is unacceptable behavior, and I cannot accept such bullying. I hope the MHP leader will take action against the perpetrator,” Saraç said.
Yazar is notorious for assaulting journalists who are critical of his party’s policies.
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 ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).