Turkish journalist Mustafa Uslu is seen after being attacked in Kocaeli. (Photo: Samsun'un Nabzı/YouTube)

Turkish journalist Mustafa Uslu beaten, equipment broken in Kocaeli

Istanbul, June 23, 2021 – Turkish authorities should ensure that the people who beat journalist Mustafa Uslu are held accountable and prosecuted, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, four people in the northwestern province of Kocaeli attacked Uslu, a reporter for the pro-government İhlas News Agency (İHA), while he was covering authorities’ demolition of a ranch owned by opposition politician Lütfü Türkkan, according to multiple reports from his employer and a statement by the Journalists’ Society of Turkey in Istanbul, a local trade group. 

The attackers hit Uslu, knocked him to the ground, kicked and hit him in the face, and also smashed his camera and drone, according to those reports. Uslu was hospitalized following the attack, and his condition is not severe, according to reports.

Police arrested the four attackers at the scene and identified one of them as Türkkan’s nephew İbrahim Hasırcı, according to local news reports and İHA. Police ordered Hasırcı detained pending investigation, and released the other three suspects—identified as one of Hasırcı’s friends, a ranch employee, and Türkkan’s driver—under 90 days of judicial control, similar to parole, according to those reports.

“Turkish authorities must ensure that those who attacked journalist Mustafa Uslu are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Physical attacks on journalists in Turkey are far too common, and the only way to finally end such assaults is to show that perpetrators will face justice.”

Türkkan, a parliamentary deputy of Kocaeli from the opposition front’s Good Party (IYI), wrote on Twitter that he learned of the attack with “great sadness,” and also tweeted that he had contacted Uslu’s family and would compensate them.

CPJ emailed Türkkan and the Kocaeli chief prosecutor’s office but did not immediately receive any replies.

Separately, on June 10, reporter Ahmet Atmaca was beaten in the southeastern city of Gaziantep, and on June 22, reporter İbrahim Akkuş was beaten in the northern province of Samsun, as CPJ documented. Authorities identified, questioned, and then released the suspects in both cases.

Physical attacks on journalists in Turkey are rarely prosecuted, according to CPJ reporting.