TURKEY: New attacks on media

TURKEY, TURKEY, 10/09/2015, 10:05

VIENNA, 10 September 2015 – Turkish authorities must take steps to bring those responsible for attacks on media outlets to justice, the International Press Institute (IPI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) said today after mobs converged on the offices of daily newspapers and a broadcaster in a second night of violence this week.

Daily Hürriyet was attacked again on Tuesday night by stone-throwing demonstrators protesting deadly attacks on Turkish security forces by the outlawed Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK), while a separate group of demonstrators pelted the combined offices of pro-government daily Sabah and broadcaster ATV with stones and water bottles, and tried to enter the building.

“The repeat attacks on media outlets by violent mobs clearly demonstrates the principle that impunity breeds more violence,” IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said, noting that only six suspects had reportedly been taken into custody in connection with the first attack on Hürriyet and reportedly were detained for possessing firearms.

“We urge authorities not only to condemn these attacks, but to take concrete action to hold the perpetrators accountable and show that they will not be tolerated.”

Tuesday’s attacks came amid a night of violent demonstrations by nationalists after 14 police officers were killed hours earlier in a suspected PKK bomb attack in eastern Turkey. Thousands of protestors attacked more than 100 offices of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) across the country, party officials said, torching some of them.

In separate news, IPI today also condemned an order to deport Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, who Turkish authorities accuse of aiding Kurdish militants. Geerdink, who has spent years covering Kurdish issues in Turkey, was detained on Sunday in Hakkari while covering clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK.

Authorities initially said Geerdink’s detention was for her own security and she was released from custody pending trial. However, her lawyer told Reuters, the provincial governor in Hakkari ordered her expelled under a rule that allows foreigners suspected of wrongdoing to be deported.

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