Headshot of Turkish journalist İsmail Arı
İsmail Arı, a reporter for the leftist Turkish daily BirGün, said that prosecutors rejected at least 10 complaints concerning death threats that he and his lawyer had filed since February. (Photo courtesy of İsmail Arı)

Turkey urged to act on death threats against journalist İsmail Arı

Istanbul, September 29, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalist calls on Turkish authorities to respond to reporter İsmail Arı’s criminal complaints regarding the online threats he has been receiving.

“Turkish authorities should stop turning a blind eye to reporter İsmail Arı’s criminal complaints about the online threats he is facing and take them seriously,” said Özgür Öğret, CPJ’s Turkey representative. “Arı has legitimate worries for his safety and authorities are legally obliged to protect him, and any other members of the media who are in danger, in every way they can.”

Arı, a reporter for the leftist daily BirGün, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on September 19 that he had been receiving death threats but prosecutors had not investigated his complaints.

Arı told CPJ that he had been targeted with online insults and threats since he started reporting on the activities of an Islamist group in southern Turkey after the area was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6, killing tens of thousands.

Arı told CPJ that most of the threats came through X and Instagram. Some messages came from named accounts and some mentioned the Islamist group in their messages, Arı said.

Arı said Istanbul prosecutors had rejected at least 10 complaints that he and his lawyer had filed since February for “insults and threats.” In their rejections, authorities simply said that there were no grounds for investigating insults, and they did not mention the threats, he said.

“They purposefully do not recognize the threat,” he said.

CPJ emailed the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office for comment but did not receive a reply.

Since 1992, 31 journalists and media workers have been killed in Turkey, according to CPJ data.