RSF condemns police attacks and arrests of reporters covering post-election protests in Türkiye

Plusieurs journalistes qui couvraient les manifestations post-électorales ont été agressés et interpellés en Turquie.

At least eight journalists were attacked, three others were arrested and another was threatened for covering or referring to post-election protests in eastern Türkiye and Istanbul. These serious press freedom violations must stop, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

At least six reporters were injured by police and three others were arrested while covering protests on 2 and 3 April in eastern and southeastern provinces in response to the cancellation of the election of the pro-Kurdish mayor of Van province.

Fearing for his safety, Colemeng Haber news site editor Serkan Kaya went also into hiding after being the target of an armed attack on the night of 2 April in the city of Hakkari, which – according to information obtained by RSF – was carried out by allies of the ruling AKP party’s local president, Zeydin Kaya. A few days before the attack, Serkan Kaya criticised the crackdown on protests in an online article.

TV presenter Ece Üner was meanwhile subjected to threats on social media for referring in a post on X to the “difficulty of remaining indifferent to these injustices.”

“The violence against media professionals covering post-election protests is unacceptable. It is totally absurd to sanction journalists in the same way as protesters on the grounds given by the police that they are covering banned demonstrations. We urge interior minister Ali Yerlikaya to put a stop to these obstructive practices and to guarantee the safety of journalists and their right to report what happens in Türkiye, including during protests and especially in the wake of elections.”

Erol Onderoglu

RSF’s Türkiye representative

Four journalists – the Gazete Duvar news site’s Kadir Cesur, Jin News Rabia Önver, Kurdish Rudaw TV’s Muhammed Sakir and the national KRT channel’s Umut Tastan – were injured by rubber bullets and teargas, while police trained a water cannon on Rusen Takva, one of the Türkiye’s most widely followed freelancers.

In Siirt, two reporters with the local news agency Ne were hospitalised with breathing problems after a huge amount of teargas was used against a group of journalists.

Medine Mamedoglu, a woman freelancer covering the protests in Van, was detained for several hours in 3 April, as were Sema Korkmaz, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish daily Yeni Yasam, and Ferhat Sezgin, a reporter for the Mesopotamia Agency (MA), whose camera was damaged. The journalist Oktay Candemir was not arrested, but the police seized his phone and deleted all of his images. 


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