Turkish radio host gunned down by listener who didn’t like his comments

After a Turkish radio show host was gunned down by one of his listeners who didn’t like his comments “related to sacred values,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores how intolerance towards journalists has been made normal in Turkey and calls on the judicial system to protect them.

An armed man opened fire on Hazım Özsu, the presenter of a programme on Radio Rahmet FM, outside his home in the northwestern city of Bursa on the evening of 9 March and then fled. The 46-year-old journalist was rushed to a hospital with a gunshot wound to the throat and died of the injury a few hours later.


The police arrested the presumed killer, Halil Nalçaci, at his home in Bursa six days later, after identifying him by examining more than 300 surveillance camera recordings, especially from the neighbourhood where Özsu lived with his mother.


During his first interrogation by the police, Nalçaci said he shot Özsu because he didn’t like “certain expressions related to sacred values during the Covid-19 period” that Özsu used on his programmes. “I called the radio station in the past to warn them,” he said, “but they didn’t take me seriously and repeated these mistakes.”


He went to Özsu’s home because he became “furious,” he said. “When I arrived at his home, I said to the person who opened the door that I was a friend and wanted to see him. When he came down, I said, ‘Now I’m going to shut you up.’ I pointed my gun and shot him in the throat. I meant to aim at his leg, but the shot hit him there. I’m sorry.”


Nalçaci, who has a previous conviction for “causing injuries with a firearm,” was jailed on 16 March on a charge of premeditated homicide.


According to RSF’s partner in Turkey, the Bianet website, at total of 139 journalists have been the targets of physical attacks in Turkey in the past five years.


The most recent previous murder was in December 2009, when Cihan Hayirsevener, the news director of the local television channel Marmara TV and publisher of the newspaper Güney Maramara Yasam (Southern Marmara Life), was shot three times as he walked down a street in the city of Bandırma. The perpetrators and instigators of his murder received long jail sentences.


Turkey is ranked 154th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 18.03.2021