PACE president voices concern over probe, attacks targeting Hürriyet
Güven Özalp - BrusselsAnne Brasseur, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has expressed her concerns about attacks targeting daily Hürriyet and the investigation launched by a prosecutor into the Doğan Media Group.
"If you think that media reports are damaging, you debate them. You can't physically attack newspapers or probe them by using judicial methods, because it would be a threat against freedom of the press, which is one of the core values of democratic system," Brasseur told daily Hürriyet.
Daily Hürriyet's headquarters in Istanbul was attacked by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters on Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation into the Doğan Media Group on Sept. 15 for “terrorist propaganda” by accepting a widely derided front-page story in pro-government tabloid Güneş five days earlier as a criminal denunciation.
"I am watching these developments with a feeling that goes beyond concerns," Brasseur added, noting that all European institutions share a "common concern" regarding the negative developments in Turkey. "I am not very optimistic about the big picture and everything may go worse if we do not do anything."
AKP MP Abrurrahim Boynukalın was filmed while delivering a fiery speech in front of Hürriyet amid the first violent attack.
After less than 48 hours, the Hürriyet headquarters was attacked by another club-swinging, stone-pelting group.
The attacks triggered a public outcry, as Hürriyet vowed to continue its independent editorial policy in spite of threats.
All suspects who were detained after the attacks targeting the newspaper building were released.
Boynukalın, who was seen in another video while explicitly threatening Hürriyet journalists, was elected to the AKP’s steering committee at the party’s congress on Sept. 12. On Sept. 18, he was left out of the AKP's deputy candidates list for the Nov. 1 election.
Journalists around the world, as well as statesmen and diplomats, urged the Turkish government to stop attacks on Hürriyet and to safeguard freedom of the press.