Threatened Turkish journalist hospitalized

Print and TV journalist Ahmet Hakan was attacked by a group of four and got hospitalized with four broken ribs and nose in Istanbul last night; reports say. The assailants were apprehended by the police and claimed it was a” traffic argument” as they beat Hakan and his bodyguard in front of the journalist’s house at Nişantaşı District. There is no further health risk for the journalist according to reports as Hakan is released from the hospital and sent home.

Hürriyet Chief Editor Sedat Ergin said the claims of the assailants regarding it was a “traffic argument” are not true since they have video footage that their car was near the CNNTürk studios which would mean they followed Hakan from there to his house. Hakan’s lawyers stated that they asked police protection from the authorities weeks ago but their demend was ignored.

Hakan is a columnist for the daily Hürriyet and the host for popular politics talk show Tarafsız Bölge (Impartial Zone) at CNNTürk. Both media organs are of Doğan Media group which has currently received constant insults and accusations from pro-AKP circles, had a terrorism propaganda investigation and a coup support investigation started against them; and experienced two violent demonstrations at their facilities. In one of those demonstrations happened on September 6 and 8 at the offices of the daily Hürriyet, leading Justice and Development Party (AKP) Parliamentary Deputy Abdurrahim Boynukalın was captured on video saying it was their mistake that they did not beat Hakan and Ergin before and telling the people around him how he has given thought to going to Hakan’s house at Nişantaşı to fight with him. After last night’s attack, Boynukalın condemned it on twitter and denied responsibility by saying “We are not as perfidious as beating a journalist with four men in front of his home.” Cem Küçük, a vocal pro-government journalist who has written “If we want, we can smash you like a fly. You are still alive because we have shown mercy” to Hakan in his column, also condemned the attack on TV.

Some members of the AKP, including Justice Minister Kenan İpek, also condemned the attack. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) stated they perceive this as “intimidation” against the press.