EU Commission criticizes attack on Hürriyet, points to press freedom
Güven Özalp – BRUSSELSThe European Commission has pronounced they watched the news of the Sept. 6 attack targeting daily Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul with concern, criticizing the incident and emphasizing press freedom.
Majia Kocijancic, the spokesperson for Johannes Hahn, the commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, said the organization had always criticized attacks on journalists and emphasized press freedom.
“The commission had repeatedly highlighted the significance of press freedom and criticized all kinds of intimidations against journalists,” said Kocijancic.
Around 150 pro-government protesters convened in front of Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district late on Sept. 6, hours after a deadly terrorist attack in Turkey’s southeast.
The group then attacked security personnel at the outer gate before forcing their way to the building’s main entrance, which they pelted with stones. Protesters chanting pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) slogans retreated after riot police arrived at the scene.
The attack on Hürriyet and recent intimidating approaches toward media outlets are expected to be taken into consideration to shape the text of the commission’s annual progress report, which is due October.
European Union officials have also stressed this year’s report could potentially have a harsher tone on press freedom compared to the previous one in light of incidents in the past year.