There are clear indications of the existence of hit lists targeting Turkish government critics in Germany, says Interior Ministry

Dr. Helmut Teichmann, Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry of Germany

There are clear indications of hit lists targeting Turkish government critics in Germany, Interior Ministry Undersecretary Dr. Helmut Teichmann said in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Helin Evrim Sommer from the Left Party.

According to Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service, Teichmann said the Federal Government was currently investigating claims of the existence of these lists and whose names are on them. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement to DW said the lives of everyone living in Germany should be protected.

Criticizing the increasing violence against journalists in Turkey, the ministry urged Turkish authorities to protect freedom of the press and the rights of journalists.

The German Federation of Journalists (DJV) also called on the Federal Government to take action against threats targeting Turkish journalists in Germany. Frank Überall, president of the federation, said according to the police there was currently a hit list with 55 names, including many journalists.

Several journalists have said they were warned by the German police to be careful against attacks. Exiled journalist Cevheri Güven said he was warned by both German authorities and those from another European country. Güven did not identify the second country but said he was warned not to visit it because they would “have difficulty protecting his life.”

Another journalist, Ferhat Tunç, said he was threatened repeatedly on social media and was approached by the Hessen state police on Friday to be warned against a possible attack.

Gökhan Yavuzel, a journalist currently living in exile in the United Kingdom and a member of PEN international, was attacked by four men yesterday. Yavuzel, who was one of the names on a hit list shared on social media, shared the details of the attack on Twitter.

Yavuzel said he was attacked while walking in a park close to his home and suffered bruising and several other minor injuries. He added that the perpetrators spoke Turkish and called him a traitor while they were beating him. “They said I deserved to die for being a traitor and that they could kill me if they wanted to,” he said.

A pro-government social media account named “Jitemkurt” on July 11 published a list of Turkish journalists living in Europe and North America whom they plan to assassinate.

The account published the names of 21 journalists resident in various countries and threatened to kill them.

In the last few months some of the people on the list have been subject to violence 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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