Islamist TV calls for murder of secular newspaper’s editors

A host for the Turkish Islamist Akit TV called for the killing of secular Cumhuriyet newspaper’s editors, saying their murder would be permissible according to Islam.

Yusuf Ozan, the host of Akit TV’s morning show, displayed Cumhuriyet’s frontpage on Sunday which had the headline “11 martyrs in Afrin” about news of 11 Turkish soldiers being killed on Saturday, the deadliest day since Turkish military incursion into Syria’s Afrin started on Jan. 20.

“I wish there was a one-man regime, then he would shut you down. I wish there was Sharia [Islamic Law] in this country, then they would hang you all.” Ozan was quoted by Cumhuriyet as saying.

“You are all traitors... trouble makers who hide behind the democracy cover. Your heads should be chopped off,” Ozan said.

“Democracy is a fiction, it is permissible to murder you during the war [according to Islam]... You don’t have even one bit of faith in you,” he said.

Cumhuriyet is one of the last opposition newspapers in Turkey after several were shut down and others succumbed to pressure from the government to change their editorial line. 

In July 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, after he published documents purporting to prove that the government was sending secret arms shipments to Islamist rebel groups in Syria without parliament's approval. Dündar spent three months in jail and left the country after he was sentenced to over five years in jail pending appeal.

In Nov. 2016, Cumhuriyet’s next editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu, and eight employees of the newspaper were arrested for alleged links to terrorist organisations.