Two Turkish journalists say receiving threats due to their reporting

Two female journalists in Turkey have announced that they are receiving threats due to their reporting on an aide to a mafia boss and an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant.

Pro-opposition Halk TV journalist Seyhan Avşar announced from her Twitter account on Thursday that she is receiving threats due to her report on Barış Duyu, an aide to crime boss Alaattin Çakıcı. In her report Avşar said Duyu, who was arrested by the police carrying 16 kilograms of heroin in eastern Turkey in April, said in his statement to the police that he had long worked for Turkish intelligence.

The journalist said she would file a criminal complaint against the people threatening her on Monday but wanted everyone know who the culprits were if anything happens her in the meantime.

The other journalist receiving threats is kısadalga news website correspondent Hale Gönültaş, who reported that controversial video footage showing an ISIL woman who was detained in a police operation in İstanbul last year was shot at a Nation’s Garden in İstanbul’s Başakşehir district. In the video the woman is seen with a knife in her hand threatening people who oppose Islamic Shariah rule.

Gönültaş said she deliberately did not bring calls and harassment made by members of the extremist Tevhid Group to public attention to avoid giving them publicity but that the group launched a campaign on social media targeting her, putting her at risk.

It is common for journalists in Turkey, which has a poor record on the freedom of the media, to face threats, physical attacks and legal harassment due to their work.

Turkey was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index, announced earlier this month.

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