Turkish journalists attacked by relatives of drug trafficking suspects

Four journalists were attacked on Friday by relatives of drug trafficking suspects outside a courthouse in the southwestern Turkish province of Aydın, local media reported.

Melek Fırat from the local Aydın Manşet daily, Demirören news agency reporter Burhan Ceyhan, Abdurrahman Fırat from the local Hedef newspaper and İhlas news agency correspondent Murat Uçkaç were attacked while filming outside the courthouse in Aydın. The assailants damaged their cameras, a phone and other equipment.

According to the Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ), the attackers reportedly threatened Fırat, saying, “I won’t forget this woman’s face. … I will cut off her head.”

This is the second incident in three months at the same courthouse, after two journalists were attacked in January, CFWIJ said, citing the Bianet news website.

Threats against local journalists are common in Turkey.

Güngör Arslan, who owned local Ses Kocaeli news website, was attacked by a gunman at his office in İzmit in February 2022. Arslan, who was targeted after writing extensively about alleged corruption in the İzmit Municipality, ultimately succumbed to his injuries.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Turkey, among the top jailers of journalists worldwide, saw a significant increase in the number of jailed journalists in 2022, with the government using recently passed media legislation as an additional tool to prosecute journalists.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!