Three consul generals from EU countries visit daily Hürriyet after attacks
Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin (L), French Consul General Muriel Domenach (2nd L), German Consul General Dr. Georg Birgelen (2nd R) and the British Deputy Consul General Rafe Courage pose for the cameras in front of the attacked daily Hürriyet headquarters in Istanbul on Sept. 14.The consul generals to Istanbul of three European Union countries have staged a courtesy visit to daily Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief following the two violent attacks on the newspaper’s offices last week.
French Consul General to Istanbul Muriel Domenach, German Consul General to Istanbul Dr. Georg Birgelen, and British Deputy Consul General Rafe Courage expressed common good wishes to Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin on Sept. 14, during their visit to the daily’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district, just a week after the newspaper was attacked and pelted by a violent mob.
Domenach said they had come to visit Hürriyet to support freedom of the press, as well as to express their good wishes to all newspapers in the country and the Turkish people.
“We hope that such acts of commination towards newspapers, regardless of their side, are now over,” he added.
Birgelen said the European Union was closely following freedom of expression and press freedom in Turkey, which is still officially an EU membership candidate.
“This [situation] is a source of concern both for our countries and generally for the EU. We are here also to spread the values that we spread inside the EU; we hope that these values will prevail in Turkey too. These values are very important for establishing a functional democracy,” he added.
Courage, meanwhile, said the U.K. condemned all attacks on the media.
“We condemn all attacks against the press. This is the core message we would like to convey,” said Courage.
Daily Hürriyet’s Istanbul headquarters and Ankara offices were pelted with stones by club-swinging protesters on Sept. 8, less than 48 hours after a similar attack by supporters of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Around 100 protesters arrived at the outer gate of the Istanbul building at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 8, forcing their way into the garden despite the presence of a small unit of riot police.
In the initial attack, some 200 pro-AKP protesters, including an AKP deputy, had convened in front of the building late on Sept. 6, claiming that a statement of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was misrepresented on Hürriyet’s website. They then attacked security personnel at the outer gate before forcing their way to the entrance, which they pelted with stones.