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May 16 2019

Turkish journalist beaten after critical commentary

A veteran journalist in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya was hospitalised late Wednesday with chest and head injuries after being beaten by unidentified men outside his office, Evrensel newspaper reported

The assault on İdris Özyol, a columnist for Akdeniz Yeni Yüzyıl newspaper, marked the second journalist attack in Turkey over the past week. 

After a May 11 appearance on a TV show, Yavuz Selim Demirağ, a columnist of the nationalist opposition Yeniçağ newspaper, was attacked with baseball bats and hospitalised with brain trauma. 

The reason for the attack on Özyol was unclear. But the Mediterranean branch of the Contemporary Journalists Association accused Talu Bilgili, head of the National Movement Party (MHP) in Antalya, of threatening journalists. “Whoever targets journalists, provokes attackers should be held accountable,” the association said in a written statement. 

Özyol had been critical of Bilgili, who reportedly threatened journalists early this month after they had highlighted his negative reaction to a recent opposition event. 

In March 31 local polls, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and its coalition partner, the MHP, lost the mayoral race in Antalya, a popular tourist destination on the Mediterranean coast.