CHP leader criticizes Erdoğan, AKP over attack on prominent journalist
The Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the violent assault targeting daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan.
With his deputies and two CHP MPs, Kılıçdaroğlu visited Hakan, who was injured in the attack, at the journalist's home in Istanbul's Nişantaşı district on Oct. 3.
"His health is quite alright. He is in good spirits. We had a nice chat. I told him that not only me but hundreds of thousands of his readers are waiting for his columns," CHP chair told journalists after the visit.
Four men, arriving in a black Honda at 12:35 a.m. on Oct. 1, attacked Hakan in front of his home, leaving him with a broken nose and ribs before escaping.
They were later arrested. The AKP announced on Oct. 2 that three of the men were AKP members and that they were expelled.
"It is good that they are expelled from the party. I wish that MP could also be expelled after the first attack targeting daily Hürriyet," Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to AKP MP Abdurrahim Boynukalın.
Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul were attacked by pro-AKP protesters on Sept. 6, while Boynukalın was filmed threatening both Hakan and Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin.
"I wish those who hurled death threats could face harsher criticism from the government. These did not happen and violence, in a way, was encouraged step by step," CHP leader added.
Hürriyet headquarters were pelted with stones by another club-swinging group of protesters in a fresh politically-motivated assault Sept. 8, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu failed to condemn the initial attack. A death threat targeting Hakan in a pro-AKP newspaper was also ignored.
"There is something we are all expecting. There is a problem in our country if a newspaper or a prominent journalist is attacked and the person who sits on the chair of president remains silent," Kılıçdaroğlu said.
"Many questions arose because he still did not react. Some were calling him dictator and he is feeding this stance. I advise him to avoid it," CHP leader added in reference to Erdoğan.
Kılıçdaroğlu later visited Hürriyet headquarters. After he checked the building's windows and main door that were repaired following the attack, Kılıçdaroğlu met with Hürriyet chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Ergin, Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin and Hürriyet columnists Taha Akyol and Ertuğrul Özkök.
“Hürriyet is the leading newspaper in [Turkey’s] media,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Oct. 3 upon his visit to the daily, in the wake of another attack on the daily’s leading columnist Ahmet Hakan outside his home last week.
“We have always condemned the attacks against Hürriyet and we always will. No matter what stance newspapers endorse, it is our shared duty to assure freedom of media in the country,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Kenan İpek condemned the attack targeting Hakan, stressing that the incident would be "meticulously" investigated.
Interior Minister Selami Altınok, too, stressed that violence cannot be accepted. "Whoever did it will face justice," Altınok said, referring to the assault.
Police launched a probe into the four assailants' criminal records, possible connections and telephone conversations, daily Hürriyet has learned.