Istanbul, Sep 17 () - Two leading Green leaders visited daily Hürriyet on Sept. 16 to voice their support after physical attacks targeting the newspaper’s Istanbul headquarters last week.
“I’m convinced that developments against critical media and against the pluralism of opinion in Turkey is wrong. Media freedom is a precondition for democratic development and I’m convinced that Turkey and the Turkish government must respect all … in the media” Rebecca Harms, president of The Greens–European Free Alliance at the European Parliament, said during the visit.
"We can - after seeing the recent escalation- only repeat our appeals to President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and the [Justice and Development Party] AKP to respect the basis of democracy and respect media freedom. Especially in these days of a war-like situation in the southeast of Turkey, it is important that freedom of the media is guaranteed” Harms added.
In the visit, she was joined by Cem Özdemir, the co-chair of the Green Party in Germany.“Europe is worried about the direction in which Turkey is headed. Recent developments are terrifying” Özdemir said, stressing that the visit was intended “to show support for all democratic newspapers and all media employees who are under pressure.”
“Such an attack cannot be accepted. According to the constitution, any view can be expressed; if you don’t approve then you can just buy another newspaper, instead of sending out your trolls” he added.
Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district, as well as its Ankara offices, were pelted with stones by club-swinging protesters on Sept. 8, less than 48 hours after a similar attack by AKP supporters. The initial attack had followed fiery calls by a group of pro-AKP supporters on social media, popularly known as “AK trolls.”
All suspects who were detained after the attacks have since been released. The AKP’s youth branch chief, Istanbul deputy Abdürrahim Boynukalın, who delivered a fiery speech in front of Hürriyet daily’s headquarters on Sept. 7 when the newspaper was attacked by a crowd, was elected to the AKP’s central decision-making board at the party’s congress on Sept. 12.