Turkish journalist receives threat after story on sale of Yazidi girl by ISIL in Ankara

Turkish journalist Hale Gönültaş received a phone call on Monday during which she was told to “watch her step” after she wrote a story about the sale of a Yazidi girl in Ankara by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Monday.

Gönültaş works for gazeteduvar, and her article, titled “ISIL sold Yazidi girl in Ankara,” was posted on the news website last week.

Gazete Duvar reported that Gönültaş received a call on Monday from an unknown person who told her: “Jihad will come to this homeland. Watch your step.”

The caller was a man who spoke fluent Turkish, according to Gönültaş.

In her story, which Gönültaş wrote on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of a massacre perpetrated by ISIL against Yazidis in Iraq’s Sinjar district, the journalist said ISIL sold a Yazidi girl in Ankara two weeks ago and that 3,500 Yazidi women are still missing.

The journalist’s lawyer said the necessary legal action would be taken to identify the person who threatened her.

Gönültaş received similar threats in the past due to her stories on the plight of the Yazidis.

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 240 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 21, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 179 were under arrest pending trial while only 61 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 144 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 a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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