A scene from Menekse beach in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 3, 2020. On July 23, 2021, a Turkish TV news crew was attacked and beaten by lifeguards at a beach in Istanbul's Şile District. (AFP/Yasin Akgul)

Turkish TV news crew attacked, beaten by lifeguards at Istanbul beach

On July 23, 2021, lifeguards at a beach in Istanbul beat reporter Çağdaş Evren Şenlik and cameraman Ayhan Arıtürk from the pro-government A Haber news television and damaged their equipment, according to reports and videos from their employer and other pro-government outlets. Şenlik and Artürk were there to report on drownings at beaches in Şile District, which are known for their strong currents.

Şenlik and Artürk, who filed criminal complaints against the lifeguards after the incident, alleged that the lifeguards told them that they would not allow them to work at the location because they are employed by A Haber, according to those reports. The two crew members said the lifeguards hit them and kicked them and damaged their camera and equipment, according to the reports and videos. Two of the lifeguards were detained by the police after the incident and later released by a court who put them under judicial control, the reports also said. 

CPJ tried to reach Şenlik and Artürk on social media and through their employer, but did not receive any immediate replies.

Murat Ongun, a spokesperson for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB)–which employs the lifeguards and is governed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party–tweeted on July 23: “The lifeguards of İBB have saved the lives of hundreds of our citizens to this day. We condemn the attacks on our lifeguards, who do their jobs adequately, and political hostilities.” His tweet did not mention the attack on the A Haber crew.

CPJ emailed the İBB for further comment but did not receive an immediate reply.