Hürriyet chairwoman calls for end to ‘language of threats and violence’
ISTANBULTurkey should put an end to the language of threats and violence that poisons all segments of society, Hürriyet chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı has stated, following an attack in which the newspaper’s prominent columnist Ahmet Hakan was injured.
“We are very sad. It is very, very saddening that violence and threats can be made so easily, worsening each day. We are very saddened and I hope this incident will take Turkey to a place where it will put an end to this language of threats and violence,” Doğan Sabancı said after visiting Hakan at his home on Oct. 1.
Four men, arriving in a black Honda at 12:35 a.m. on Oct. 1, attacked Hakan in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood as he was returning home after hosting his show on private broadcaster CNN Türk, which like Hürriyet is owned by Doğan Media.
“Unfortunately my family, the [media group’s] managers, and columnists are receiving very serious threats. A number of media outlets and columnists openly hurl threats at us on TV each day,” Doğan Sabancı also said.
“They call us terrorists and other things that I cannot even mention. And now this incident that has saddened all of us happens. They are targeting us, provoking and inciting violence,” she added, urging politicians, the business world and NGOs to “abandon this language.”
Hürriyet’s office building in Istanbul was damaged in an attack by pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) protesters on Sept. 6, and within 48 hours it was attacked by another club-swinging, stone-pelting group.
AKP MP Abrurrahim Boynukalın, who was present in the first group of protesters, was filmed amid the 200-strong crowd threatening both Hakan and Hürriyet editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin.
'We are not afraid’
Cem Küçük, a columnist for pro-government daily Star, has gained a reputation for repeatedly threatening Hakan.
“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 wanted. We have been merciful until today and you are still alive,” Küçük wrote in a Sept. 9 article.
Speaking on Oct. 1, Doğan Sabancı vowed that they were “not afraid.”
“We are watching it sadly but we are not afraid. We can’t do journalism by being afraid. We will continue to do our job,” she said, while voicing hope that prosecutors would move to protect journalists and end the ongoing impunity of those who attack the independent media.