Turkish opposition journalist hospitalised after attack

An opposition journalist with Turkey’s nationalist Yeniçağ newspaper was hospitalised on Saturday after being attacked outside his home, the newspaper reported on Saturday.

Columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ was attacked by a group of five or six people with baseball bats in capital Ankara after appearing on a TV show Friday, the newspaper said, citing Demirağ’s family.

While the reason for the attack remains unknown,  it arrives amid tensions over a decision by the country’s top election body to annul the results of the March 31 mayoral race for Istanbul, which was won by the opposition, and order a revote on June 23.

The leader of opposition nationalist Good (İYİ) Party Meral Akşener reacted to the news on Twitter, condemning the attack.

“This vile attack was committed against press freedom and freedom of thought,’’ Akşener wrote.

 Turkish Bar Association president Metin Feyzioğlu also condemned the attack,

“There is no winner in violence, the loser is the entire country. I’m calling on all politicians; listen to the people. We don’t want the language of violence or violence [itself],’’ Feyzioğlu said.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) maintains the Istanbul vote was marred by fraud and irregularities at the ballot boxes, but the opposition says the electoral board was pressured by the government, which desperately wants to hold on to power in the city is home to 16 million and the financial hub of the country.