Istanbul, April 11, 2022 – Turkish authorities should ensure that all those who attacked journalist Azim Deniz and the Deniz Postası broadcaster are found and held accountable, including anyone who planned the attack, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
On Saturday, April 9, a group of about 50 people raided the office and studio of the privately owned TV broadcaster Deniz Postası in the central city of Kayseri, and attacked Deniz, a host at the station, according to news reports and Deniz, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.
The attackers locked the door to the outlet’s newsroom, trapping journalists inside, and proceeded to the station’s studio where they punched and beat local businessman and politician Sedat Kılınç, Deniz’s guest on his show, according to those sources. Deniz said he tried to intervene and protect his guest, and the people then punched him in his face and on his head. He added that neither he nor Kılınç were seriously hurt in the scuffle.
The Kayseri police released a statement on Saturday saying that six suspects were in custody related to the incident.
“Turkish authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the recent attack on the Deniz Postası broadcaster and hold all the perpetrators and any masterminds to account,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Turkey must improve its track record for fighting violence against journalists. Authorities must show that the perpetrators who raided Deniz Postası and beat journalist Azim Deniz will face consequences.”
Deniz told CPJ that prosecutors had released the six suspects on April 10, and authorities had not given him any updates on the case. CPJ emailed the Kayseri chief prosecutor’s office for comment but did not immediately receive any reply.
In Deniz’s daily talk show “Ramazan Sohbetleri” (Ramadan Talks), episodes of which CPJ reviewed, he frequently hosts businesspeople and politicians to discuss daily news. He said that the attackers seemed to have targeted Kılınç, and the journalist said he was only attacked after he intervened to protect his guest.
Kılınç, a businessman and politician serving as an alderman on the Kayseri city council, recently resigned from the Nationalist Movement Party, according to reports.