US ‘deeply disturbed’ by attack on Hürriyet columnist, calls on Turkey to respect media freedoms
WASHINGTONThe United States has expressed its concern over the recent attack on a daily Hürriyet columnist, calling on Turkey to respect media freedoms.
“We’re obviously deeply disturbed by this brutal attack. We urge Turkish authorities to investigate thoroughly and to prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with Turkish law,” U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marc Toner said in a press briefing on Oct. 5 when asked to comment on the attack on daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan outside his home in Istanbul on Oct. 1.
Hakan, a well-known journalist in Turkey, was attacked outside his home in Istanbul’s Şişli district by four perpetrators, including members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), early Oct. 1.
After being reminded that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had not condemned the incident, Toner said the U.S. called on Turkey to respect media freedoms and take necessary measures to this end as per the country’s commitments to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“We call on Turkey to respect the media freedoms and the due process protections that are enshrined in the Turkish constitution as well as in its OSCE commitments,” Toner said.
Toner said any attack on any journalist would disturb them. “We’re deeply disturbed by any attack on any journalist around the world, Turkey or elsewhere.”
The attack on Hakan has drawn stern condemnation as well as angry reaction from Turkey and abroad, ratcheting up the debate on press freedom and the safety of journalists in Turkey.
U.K. Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore condemned the attack on Hakan in a Twitter posting on Oct. 1, describing the attack 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,” Moore said.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara called attention to free speech in regard to the attack in a Twitter posting on Oct. 1.
“Those who seek to intimidate journalists with violence are fighting a losing battle. Free speech cannot be beaten into silence,” the embassy said.