International officials condemn attack on Hürriyet columnist

International officials condemn attack on Hürriyet columnist

International officials condemn attack on Hürriyet columnist The violent attack on Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan has drawn condemnation from international officials, who expressed concern about the state of freedom of expression in Turkey.

U.K. Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore described the attack on Ahmet Hakan as “intolerable.”

“I strongly condemn the attack and send my get well wishes. No one should be threatened and subjected to violence. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the most important tools of an active democracy.

It is everyone’s duty to protect those freedoms,” said Moore in a tweet posted in Turkish.


The U.S. Embassy in Ankara also called attention to free speech in a tweet posted on its official Twitter account.

“Those who seek to intimidate journalists with violence are fighting a losing battle. Free speech cannot be beaten into silence,” the embassy tweeted.

In addition, Council of Europe (COE) Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland also strongly condemned the attack, daily Hürriyet has reported.

“The recurrent attacks on journalists in Turkey have a deterrent effect on press freedom in the country,” said Jagland, urging a full investigation into the attack.

Hakan was seriously injured after four men attacked him in front of his home in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood in the early hours of Oct. 1.

The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) have condemned the attack, saying that Turkish authorities desperately needed to take immediate measures to protect journalists' ability to report freely in advance of Nov. 1 parliamentary election.

"It is hard to accept that the savage beating of Mr. Hakan – just weeks after a columnist with pro-government media impliedly threatened him with death – is a coincidence," IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said in a written statement on Oct. 1. "That is doubly true given the series of violent attacks and bogus criminal cases targeting journalists and media outlets in September. If Turkish officials want the results of the Nov. 1 elections to be viewed as legitimate, they need to take immediate steps to protect journalists from violence and to end these abuses, which appear designed to deprive Turkey's voters of the ability to make an informed decision about their future."

In addition, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also voiced concern over the Hakan attack, pointing to the worsening state of press freedom in Turkey.

"Turkish journalists have been jailed, harassed, insulted, and sued, but this physical attack makes clear that press freedom is being further undermined in Turkey," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. 

"Authorities must take immediate action to ensure that all those responsible for this attack are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The right of Ahmet Hakan to express himself is guaranteed under Turkish law and must be protected," he added.