Pro-government social media account publishes a hit list of exiled Turkish journalists

A pro-government social media account named “Jitemkurt” on Sunday published a list of Turkish journalists living in Europe and North America whom they plan to assassinate, Bold Medya reported.

The account published the names of 21 journalists resident in various countries and threatened to kill them. The name of the social media account refers to a group linked to the notorious gendarmerie intelligence unit JITEM.

JITEM’s existence was denied by the state for years. It was later officially acknowledged by former prime ministers Bülent Ecevit and Mesut Yılmaz. It has been linked to the disappearance and execution of Kurdish activists, politicians and businesspeople throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

There have been recent complaints in Europe by government critics concerning death threats by people allegedly linked to JITEM.

Sevim Dağdelen, a Kurdish-German politician from the German Left Party, said she received death threats from Turkish ultranationalist groups in March. Another female party member, Sarya Aytaç, was also threatened by groups linked to JITEM.

According to Jörg Schindler, the Left Party’s federal manager, the Turkish government was at the very least “tolerating” JITEM and that the German government needed to respond to these threats in the fastest and most effective way.

In the last few months some of the names on the list have been subject to violence in their homes by unknown people.

Erk Acarer, a Turkish journalist who is critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and has been living in exile in Germany, said he was attacked outside his home in Berlin on July 6 by three men who reportedly warned him to stop writing.

Swedish-based Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt was attacked on September 24 near his home in Stockholm. Bozkurt, who runs the Nordic Monitor news website, which provides exclusive and critical coverage on Turkey and exposes the clandestine activities of the notorious Turkish intelligence agency, suffered minor injuries in the attack.

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