Istanbul, January 15, 2021 – Turkish authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the assault of journalist Orhan Uğuroğlu and bring the perpetrators to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Earlier today, in Ankara, the capital, three unidentified men attacked Uğuroğlu, the Ankara correspondent for the nationalist daily Yeniçağ, while he was getting into his car at his home, according to a report by his employer and news reports.
The men attacked Uğuroğlu and attempted to run him over with their car, but the journalist escaped with only a minor injury to his elbow, according to those reports.
This evening, the Ankara police directorate tweeted that three suspects in the attack had been taken into custody, and that police were searching for a fourth.
“Turkish police have thankfully found most of the suspected perpetrators in today’s attack on journalist Orhan Uğuroğlu. Now, authorities must ensure that they face justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “This is a perfect opportunity for Turkey to improve its track record on impunity regarding physical attacks on journalists.”
Uğuroğlu told police that the attackers said they were acting on behalf of the Nationalist Movement Party, and told him he should stop criticizing the party, according to his employer.
In his column on January 13, Uğuroğlu interviewed opposition political figure Selçuk Özdağ, who criticized the Nationalist Movement Party. That party is allied with the governing Justice and Development Party, according to reports.
Özdağ, vice chair of the opposition Future Party, was also attacked today in Ankara and has been hospitalized, reports said.
Physical attacks on journalists in Turkey are rarely prosecuted, as CPJ has documented.
CPJ emailed the Ankara police for comment but did not immediately receive any reply.