Turkish Agriculture Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba slapped a journalist who asked a question about his security detail in Şanlıurfa province, the online news outlet Aktifhaber reported on Monday.
A video shared on social media on Sunday shows Fakıbaba slapping a journalist over a question concerning an event where his security detail allegedly pulled their guns while he is walking and greeting people in the street.
Following the slap, journalists who were pushed away by men guarding Fakıbaba said he was just doing his job. One of Fakıbaba’s bodyguards is heard saying, “I don’t care about your profession.”
Deputies and ministers are campaigning in their electoral districts in advance of snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 242 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 3, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 182 were under arrest pending trial while only 60 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)