Evrensel journalist attacked in latest in spate of assaults on reporters

Evrensel journalist attacked in latest in spate of assaults on reporters

A journalist at daily Evrensel was hospitalized early on March 6 after suffering an attack by an unknown perpetrator outside his home in the Samatya neighborhood of Istanbul’s Fatih district.

Mithat Fabian Sözmen received 11 stitches to his head and arm as a result of the attack, which occurred at around 1 a.m.

Sözmen is the third journalist in the past week to suffer a late-night attack. On Feb. 27, Turkish Journalists Union General-Secretary and IMC TV presenter Mustafa Kaleli, as well as journalist Hasan Cömert, received stitches after being attacked in Şişli’s Kurtuluş neighborhood.

The Evrensel journalist said a masked man hit him with what he believed to be an iron bar as he reached for his keys to open his apartment building’s door. The assailant escaped immediately after the attack without attempting to steal any of Sözmen’s belongings.

“The fact that the person who committed the attack made no attempt at robbery, together with the fact that he hid his face with a mask, leads one to believe that the attack was planned and organized,” said Evrensel Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat, adding that the newspaper would follow Sözmen’s case.

“Everyone knows what kind of attacks journalists have faced in Turkey. Turkey has the record in terms of murders of journalists, and it’s also a country that has witnessed many attacks on journalists while they are doing their work,” Polat said.

“Turkey, in which close to 50 journalists are under arrest, is a country in which Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] takes aim [at journalists], saying ‘Down with your journalism,’ and calls senior media figures to demand that the ‘necessary measures be taken’ whenever he doesn’t like a story.”