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 Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.
Around 100 protesters arrived at the outer gate of the building at 8:30 p.m., with four gunshots heard as they approached. Protesters forced their way into the garden despite the presence of a small unit of riot police.
Security forces prevented them from entering the building at the last moment, and protesters, who were chanting “God is great,” were removed from the garden after more police units came 25 minutes later.
Accompanied by two long-haul trucks, flag-carrying protesters continued chanting slogans at the outer gate of the complex before leaving the area at 10 p.m.
It was not immediately clear who fired the gunshots.
‘Government should provide security’
“If they had entered the building, I don’t know if I could be here now,” Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin said during a live broadcast on CNNTürk, whose studios are located next to the Hürriyet building. “I am not able to believe that I am working as a journalist in a democracy because fear and democracy cannot live side by side,” he added, stressing that police failed to protect the newspaper despite a similar raid on Sept. 6.
“The government should provide security in a democracy,” Ergin added, noting that senior AKP figures had failed to condemn the first physical attack targeting daily Hürriyet. “I am not sure if I will be able to feel secure when I enter this building tomorrow as Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief.”
Soon after the attack in Istanbul’s, Hürriyet’s Ankara office, where its printing center is located, has also been assaulted. A group arriving in front of the center with vehicles closed the door to traffic and threw pavement stones at the security guard post of the building.
Security officers prevented the group from entering the building and protesters were dispersed after causing to material damage at the complex.
‘Pressure will not intimidate us’
Some 200 pro-AKP protesters, including an AKP deputy, convened in front of the building late on Sept. 6.
The group, claiming that a statement of Erdoğan was misrepresented on Hürriyet’s website, then attacked security personnel at the outer gate before forcing their way to the door, which they pelted with stones. Protesters chanting pro-AKP slogans retreated after riot police arrived at the scene.
The attack was lambasted by international community.”Aggression continues but police did not even question one perpetrator. This is encouraging the assailants,” Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin said after the second attack.
PM Davutoğlu condemns attacks
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who did not condemn the first attack, tweeted late Sept. 8 amid a wave of violent protests in Turkey, including the one that targeted daily Hürriyet. “Damaging the property of our citizens, particularly our media outlets, political party headquarters and civilians, cannot be accepted,” he said.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby also condemned the attack, stressing that elected officials should be careful that they do not create a perception that they support violence against media, Doğan News Agency reported late Sept. 8.
“As daily Hürriyet, we will continue our independent journalism with no concessions. Pressure will not intimidate us. This is what I have to tell the Turkish people, regardless of the number of assailants beating a path to our door,” Ergin said Sept. 8.