Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan injured in 'organized assault'
Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan, who has been targeted with politically-motivated threats, has been injured after an assault in front of his home.
Four men, arriving with a black Honda at 12:35 a.m. Oct. 1, attacked Hakan in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, as the columnist was returning home after hosting his program on private broadcaster CNNTürk. While one of the assailants targeted Hakan’s bodyguard, others attacked Hakan.
After the attack, perpetrators left the scene with the same car, with license plate number 34 VY 7765. Police detained three suspects after the attack. Another suspect was detained early Oct. 1.
In their initial testimonies, the assailants claimed that the attack was the result of a heated dispute with Hakan after they quarreled with him in the traffic.
The testimonies contradict video footage from the night, which shows the perpetrators starting to follow Hakan’s car as he left the CNN Türk studios after his program on the private broadcaster.
Police have started a search on the perpetrators’ computers and mobile phones to determine whether the attack had an instigator.
Ahmet Hakan, who was hospitalized with broken bones in his nose and ribs, was discharged from hospital early Oct. 1.
“Such attacks will never intimidate us. We are not afraid. We will continue walking on the path that we know is right,” Hakan said in a message conveyed to the public by Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin.
“According to the information we have, the assailants followed Hakan after he left the television building. We see that it was an organized, planned attack,” Ergin told journalists in front of the hospital.
Daily Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul was attacked by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters on Sept. 6.
After less than 48 hours, the building was attacked by another club-swinging, stone-pelting group.
AKP MP Abrurrahim Boynukalın was filmed while delivering a fiery speech in front of Hürriyet amid the first violent attack.
Boynukalın was filmed in another video while explicitly threatening Hakan and Ergin.
Threats continued after the attack as Boynukalın enjoyed impunity.
“Like schizophrenia patients, you think you are still living in the days when Hürriyet was running the country. We could crush you like a fly if we want. We have been merciful until today and you are still alive,” Star newspaper columnist Cem Küçük said in a Sept. 9 article.
All suspects who were detained after the attacks targeting the newspaper building were released.
Boynukalın, who was earlier filmed while saying that “Our mistake was that we never beat them in the past,” addressed the issue in a tweet soon after the assault targeting Hakan.
“We are not as perfidious as beating a journalist with four men in front of his home,” Boynukalın said.