Murdered journalist Metin Göktepe honored on anniversary of death

Murdered journalist Metin Göktepe honored on anniversary of death

Murdered journalist Metin Göktepe honored on anniversary of death

Metin Göktepe’s mother, Fadime Göktepe, kisses her son's grave in the suburban Istanbul district of Esenler on Jan 8. DHA photo

Friends, family and colleagues gathered in Istanbul on Jan. 8 to commemorate daily Evrensel journalist Metin Göktepe, who was beaten to death by police officers while under custody 18 years ago to the day.

Göktepe’s mother, Fadime Göktepe, as well as political party leaders, members of the press and artists all played tribute to the reporter at his graveside in the suburban Istanbul district of Esenler.

“If we are trying to bring those responsible for the Roboski Massacre to account, it is thanks to journalists like Metin Göktepe,” Party of Labor leader Selma Gürkan said, in reference to the 2011 massacre in which the Turkish military killed 34 civilians in southeastern Turkey.

Fadime Göktepe, meanwhile, lamented the lack of justice, noting that her son’s killers had not been properly prosecuted.

This year’s commemoration for Göktepe, who was one of dozens of journalists to be murdered by the state or its extensions during the 1990s, was one of the largest in recent years, according to private TV channel Hayat.

Other attendants also drew parallels between the similar beating deaths between Göktepe and Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old Gezi Park protester who was murdered with sticks by plainclothes people on an Eskişehir street last year.

During the commemoration, attendants shouted slogans such as “Comrade Metin is immortal.”

Göktepe was detained on Jan. 8, 1996 after going to cover the funeral of four prisoners who had been killed in Ümraniye prison. In an effort to prevent people from attending the funeral, police took extraordinary measures to capture close to 1,000 mourners, taking detainees to Eyüp Sports Hall.

When Göktepe reportedly identified himself as a journalist, police allegedly said he should “be shown special treatment,” after which a group of seven to eight officers allegedly beat him to death in the basement of the arena.

Authorities subsequently invited derision after declaring that Göktepe died after accidentally falling from a wall.

Six policemen responsible for Göktepe’s death were sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, but were released after 17 months.

Selahattin Sönmez, a former photojournalist at the Hürriyet Daily News, received the main photography honor at the Metin Göktepe Journalism Awards in 2012 – launched in 1998 in Göktepe’s memory - for a photo titled “Sakın Konuşma,” which depicted authorities violently silencing a student protesting against Energy Minister Taner Yıldız at a forum on nuclear power.