The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has criticised a new wave of violence against journalists covering the anniversary of the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul on 1 June. Journalists covering the Gezi protests’ anniversary in Istanbul and Ankara have again been beaten, intimidated, insulted and injured by the Turkish police forces while doing their job.
According to figures gathered by the EFJ affiliate, the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS - Journalists' Union of Turkey), several journalists have been attacked by the Turkish police forces while reporting the peaceful protest taking place in Taksim square (Istanbul) and Ankara. They include:
- Ivan Watson (CNN) has been intimidated and taken into custody during a live coverage for CNN International in Istanbul
- Piero Castellano (Italian photojournalist) has been injured by the police in Ankara
- Erdal Imrek (Evrensel) has received tear gas in the face and has been beaten by the police
- Ahmet Sik (freelance, 2014 laureate of UNESCO Prize) has been beaten by the police
- Atilgan Özdil (photojournalist for AA) has been hit at the head by a projectile
- Meltem Aslan (female journalist and unionist for TGS Ankara branch) has been beaten by the police who tried to get her press card
- Sol Gazetesi (left-wing daily newspaper) is under judicial harassment for his recent media coverage
"Those police officers who were attacking journalists are acting with impunity, it only encourages them to continue to use violence against our colleagues," condemned the TGS, who has called on the Turkish government to punish those responsible for the attacks.
"The government should have learned from its past experience and realised that attacking professional journalists, banning the means of communication, intimidating and threatening human rights defenders will never make the country a better place to live." reminded the EFJ.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) represents over 320.000 journalists with 60 organisations in 40 countries.