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 by three men who reportedly warned him to stop writing, The Associated Press reported.
Acarer, a columnist for Turkey’s independent BirGün newspaper, said in a video posted on Twitter that the attack occurred late Wednesday in the courtyard of his apartment building. The 48-year-old sustained some swelling on his head and was kept at a hospital for several hours for observation.
Kamuoyuna ve gazeteci dostlara açıklamamdır: Bilin ki hesabınını sormaya devam edeceğiz, bilin ki hesabı kapayan da biz olacağız! pic.twitter.com/aG2QKkllsw
— Erk Acarer (@eacarer) July 8, 2021
Acarer claimed the attack was evidence confirming everything he had written and said against the “Islamist and fascist” Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). He added that he had some ideas and information regarding the perpetrators but chose not to talk about them for a few days so as to not make things more difficult for the police.
“But the answer to the question ‘Where’s $10,000?’ lies right here, somewhere,” Acarer said, referring to an allegation voiced by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu that a politician, believed by many to be Metin Külünk of the ruling AKP, had been receiving a monthly payment of $10,000 from notorious Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker.
Berlin police confirmed the assault and said three people attacked Acarer on Wednesday night in the Rudow area of southern Berlin.
“These men attacked him in the yard of a house; two allegedly punched and kicked him, while one secured the whole scene,” Berlin police spokesperson Patricia Braemer said.
“Following first investigations, which started yesterday, it cannot be excluded that his job as a journalist is the background for this assault,” she added.
In a video posted on Twitter Acarer said that one of his attackers warned him in Turkish: “You will not write.”
Acarer was among a group of journalists who were prosecuted for reporting on the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officer who was killed in Libya and was quietly buried. Five of the journalists were convicted of violating Turkey’s intelligence laws and of disclosing secret information. The case against Acarer is proceeding.
According to Turkish Minute a number of journalists and politicians, in addition to social media users, have condemned the attack on Acarer, accusing Erdoğan and his AKP government of responsibility for it.
“Take a look at what he [Acarer] has been writing about, and you’ll know who sent the three armed men to his house. They [the AKP government] have become a nuisance not only to Turkey, but the world,” former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily and journalist in exile Can Dündar tweeted.
Direct message to Germany from Erdoğan:
“I have a long arm. We can attack a dissident journalist even in Berlin.”#ErkAcarer@HeikoMaas @amnesty_de @dwnews @spiegelonline @zeitonline @kulturforumtrd @BILD @AA_Kultur @AA_SicherReisen @welt https://t.co/rt7EZ8AkKw
— Can Dündar (@candundaradasi) July 7, 2021
Sevim Dağdelen, a member of the German parliament from the Left Party, also blamed Erdoğan’s network for the attack in Berlin, asking the German federal government how much longer will they remain silent in the face of such life-threatening attacks targeting Turkish dissidents.
“The mafia regime spreads terror by attacking a journalist in the heart of Europe. Erk Acarer is a courageous source of information for Turkey. They are attacking the people’s right to be informed. This predatory barbarism will lose. We stand by you,” Turkish Prof. Dr. Gazi Çağlar, based in Germany, said.