FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
Journalist Attacked in Municipality Elections
Yeni Asır newspaper journalist Fatih Yapar filed a criminal complaint because he had been assaulted when he wanted to watch Metin Solak's election victory in the Çiğli Municipality. Izmir Journalists Association president Atilla Sertel condemned the attack and declared to follow the incident up.
İzmir - BIA News Center
25 November 2009, Wednesday
Yeni Asır newspaper journalist Fatih Yapar complained to the Çiğli Police Centre (western coast of Turkey) because he was attacked for trying to cover the municipal elections. Yapar stated that he was assaulted by a municipality official when the journalist wanted to enter the election room.
Yapar attempted to enter the meeting hall of the Municipality Assembly. The hall was extremely crowded and the journalist tried to open the second wing of the door. He was addressed by a municipality official asking him "Who are you?" and attacked by him.
"He pulled my tie and squeezed my throat, he beat me"
Journalist Yapar told bianet how he was assaulted: "They also accepted citizens to the first session of the Assembly. Upon some rude remarks made by party members, a break was given. Citizens were not accepted to the second session. The crowed was informed about this only after they had filled up the 15-meter-long entrance corridor. The municipality officials and security staff who needed to enter the hall had been left behind the crowd. A throng and uproar occurred since they could not go ahead. I advanced to the entrance of the hall together with provincial chairman Rıfat Nalbantoğlu. I wanted to open the other wing of the door because of the uproar. The crowed got mixed up. A municipality official asked me "Who are you?" and pulled my tie. He squeezed my throat and beat me. I complained to the police to seek my rights".
Yaldız: He was attacked for doing his job
Egede Son Söz newspaper journalist Ümit Yaldız related the attack on Yapar to a column, entitled "A Flagged Mayor for Çiğli". He wrote the column after the funeral of recently deceased Çiğli mayor Ensari Bulut.
However, Yapar does not think the attack was connected to the news, "I do not think is was related to that. The atmosphere was not like that".
Sertel: We will follow the incident up
Turkey Journalists Federation and Izmir Journalists Association chairman Atilla Sertel condemned the attack on journalist Yapar. He claimed to find the responsible people and declared to follow the incident up.
Sertel demanded to arrest the aggressors as soon as possible, "Pictures and video records showing the attacker beating and trying to strangle Yapar by squeezing his tie must be analysed. The criminals must be identified and an according investigation has to be initiated", Sertel said.
Solak new mayor of Çiğli municipality
Republican People's Party (CHP) candidates Şeref Bektaş and Metin Solak were running for mayor in the third round of the elections. Solak became the new mayor of Çiğli with 16 votes out of 31, Bektaş received 14 votes. (EÖ/VK)