Police in Ankara, Turkey detain Nazım Fayık, a camera operator with the leftist pro-Kurdish website and TV broadcaster Artı Gerçek. (YouTube/Mezopotamya Ajansı)

Police detain camera operator Nazım Fayık while covering protest in Ankara, Turkey

On July 5, 2021, police disrupted a protest near a prison in Ankara, Turkey, and detained at least one journalist, according to news reports and video of the detention shared on social media.

Police detained Nazım Fayık, a camera operator with the leftist pro-Kurdish website and TV broadcaster Artı Gerçek, along with five demonstrators at the protest, held by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) near Sincan Prison against the imprisonment of one of their members, according to those reports and Fayık, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

Fayık told CPJ that police officers tried to stop him from recording the detentions by telling him to move away and pulling him by his backpack. The officers also tore the live broadcast cable from the camera, he said. Accusing Fayik of swearing at them, the officers then pulled him to the ground, put their knees on his back, and cuffed his hands behind his back with plastic zip ties.

Fayık said he did not swear at the police, but told them in anger, “You have no honor.”  

“They started to pull from my arms, held me from my neck, brought me to the ground, and cuffed me from the back,” he said, adding that his right knee was scratched during the arrest and the zip ties hurt his wrists because they were too tight.

In the video of Fayık’s detention, posted to Twitter by his employer, a police officer is seen grabbing Fayık by the shoulder and claiming the journalist insulted him. Somebody else is heard saying, “Don’t do it! He is a reporter.”

Fayık remained cuffed until he was brought to hospital for a mandatory health check before being taken to the police station, he said.

Police released Fayık later that evening without charge, but imposed judicial control by a court, a status similar to parole, as well as a foreign travel ban, he said. He was told to expect to receive a notice explaining the conditions of his release.

Police also attempted to prevent other journalists from covering the detentions by pushing them and threatening to seize their equipment, according to reports and videos shared on social media.

CPJ emailed the Ankara police force for comment, but did not receive any reply.