Riot police detain Emine Ocak, a member of Saturday Mothers group, during a demonstration on August 25, 2018, in Istanbul. Turkish police assaulted reporters at the August 25 protest. (AFP/Hayri Tunc)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of August 27, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on August 30, 2018 3:18 PM ET

Police assault reporters in Istanbul

Turkish police violently attacked several reporters trying to cover a weekly silent protest, known as the Saturday Mothers, in Istanbul's Galatasaray Square on August 25, the New York Times reported. The reporters, alongside activists participating in the protest, were attacked by the police during the 700th vigil for those who were forcibly disappeared by the state, after being informed by the police that the gathering was banned.

Özgür Deniz Kaya, a reporter for the pro-government Demirören News Agency (DHA), was hit by gas pellets fired from a police gun, online newspaper Diken reported on August 25. Kaya told Diken that he was interviewing a parliamentary deputy when he heard several shots, and two gas pellets hit him in the leg. DHA General Director Salih Zeki Sarıdanişmet told Diken: "We are curious of the motivation behind the police aiming at our reporter friend [and] firing shot after shot when he was doing his job for the public, asking a parliamentary deputy questions with a microphone with DHA logo on it in hand."

The police also roughed up other reporters, according to citizen journalism network Dokuz8 Haber. Reporter Canan Coşkun from the opposition daily Cumhuriyet, independent journalist Elif Akgül, and Dokuz8 editor Eda Narin were manhandled and prevented from doing their jobs.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed that the activists were being "exploited by terrorist organizations," English-language Turkish daily Hürriyet Daily News reported on August 27. The minister did not address the matter of reporters being manhandled and shot at.

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