Opposition journalist attacked in front of Ankara home

(Changes to lead, paragraphs 8-10)

An opposition journalist and press advisor for Turkey’s Good (İYİ) Party was attacked in front of his home in Ankara in the latest in a string of assaults against journalists in recent months.

Yeniçağ columnist Murat İde was punched and struck with a bat by a group of 7-8 people who followed him with a car as he left a local television station, Sözcü newspaper reported on Saturday.

A member of the group fired a shot into the air before leaving, it said. 

İde said that he had been receiving threats for some time, but had dismissed them. 

Good Party leader Meral Akşener took to Twitter to condemn the attack. Akşener said the Good Party would refuse to bow to any threats or be silenced.

The Good Party emerged as a splinter faction from the now ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in 2017.

The party allied with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Islamist Felicity Party, and the centre-right Democratic Party in the controversial Istanbul local election this summer, a move that angered the MHP cadres and supporters.

A number of opposition journalists who have been critical of the MHP have been attacked since the spring, when tensions began to flare over the Istanbul local election.

Another Yeniçağ columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ, the newspaper's former Ankara representative Ahmet Takan and Oda TV columnist Sebahatin Önkibar were all attacked earlier this year following articles they penned that were critical of the far-right Erdoğan ally MHP. 

The chief editor of the southern Turkish regional Güney Haberci newspaper Ercin Çevik and Yeni Yüzyıl newspaper columnist İdris Özyol were also attacked earlier this year.