Third Turkish journalist assaulted in ten days

The chief editor of the southern Turkish regional Güney Haberci newspaper, was assaulted on Monday night after reporting on suspected corruption in the local government, Turkish independent news site Bianet reported.

Ercin Çevik was battered on Monday evening by three unidentified attackers, Bianet reported. Before the attack, the Güney Haberci chief had written a series of articles reporting on public property handed over to a firm running a marketplace in the Aksu district of Antalya, a province in southern Turkey.

The Aksu municipality, which is controlled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), handed over the publicly owned area to the firm last September, and the area has still not been cleared in spite of a court order to that effect, Bianet said.

Çevik is the third journalist reported to have been assaulted in Turkey in May. On May 11, Yeniçağ columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ was hospitalised attacked by a group of five or six people with baseball bats in the capital city, Ankara.

Days later, İdris Özyol, a columnist for Akdeniz Yeni Yüzyıl newspaper, was beaten by a group of men outside his office. The May 16 attack took place in Antalya, where a journalists’ association suggested the local head of the AKP-allied far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had been threatening journalists.

Journalists face an oppressive atmosphere in Turkey under the AKP government, which has led the country to the distinction of being the world's leading jailer of journalists for the past three years.