Diplomats condemn, media rights groups silent about attack on Sabah
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
ISTANBULSep 10, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Fatih Şemsettin Işık
Sep 10, 2015 12:00 am
As tensions rise after consecutive PKK attacks, people poured into the streets in provocation in many provinces. The Turkuvaz Media Group was targeted on Tuesday evening and the incident was condemned by several foreign officials
Officials from the embassies of several countries on Tuesday condemned the attack on the Turkuvaz Media Group (TMG) building, which houses Daily Sabah and its affiliated media, by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters, during a rally organized by the party's youth branches on Tuesday, for not supporting the MHP's position against the recent terrorist attacks in the east and southeast. However, international media rights groups were silent or refused to condemn the attack.
The police and security officials prevented the flow of protestors that wanted to enter the building. Some of them threw stones and bottles at the building's windows. A knife was also found by security officials among the objects thrown at the building. Several embassies and the consulates of the U.S., U.K. and Ukraine condemned the attack and emphasized the importance of press freedoms as a pillar of democracy. Speaking to Daily Sabah, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey expressed its concerns about the attacks that targeted the building. Jonathan Henick, the public affairs counselor of the U.S. Embassy, condemned the attack and said: "The United States supports media freedom both in Turkey and the world. Any attack against media outlets, especially those designed to silence independent voices, is not acceptable."
British Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore condemned the attack and said: "Any attack on the media is a very serious attempt to halt freedom of the press. I strongly condemn the attacks both on Sabah-ATV and Hürriyet. Freedom of the press forms the basis of any functioning democracy. I totally agree with the interior minister's earlier comment on the importance of respect for the rule of law. I also condemn the attacks all over Turkey on political party offices and headquarters. Violence never brings any solution and cannot be justified."
Indicating that political views and positions have to be defended in a democratic way without using force against mass media, Ukrainian Consul General in Istanbul Vasyl Bodnar said: "Recent attacks on media headquarters in Turkey, in particular [TMG] Daily Sabah and Hürriyet, should be definitely condemned by the international community."
A request for comment from the French Embassy was not returned by the time Daily Sabah went into press.
However, some international media rights groups were either unreachable or refused to condemn the matter.
When Daily Sabah contacted officials from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which does not hesitate to comment on any issue related to press freedom, the institution refrained from condemning the attack and said: "We will not make a statement that we condemn the incident as you wanted, since we do not own a print or visual media outlet."
When asked to comment on the incident, Vice President of the National Committee at the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) Emre Kızılkaya said he knew nothing about the attack and asked for a brief summary of the incident before commenting. He had yet to comment by the time Daily Sabah went to press.
However two days after the attack, the IPI released a statement calling on Turkish authorities to take steps to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks on media outlets, saying "We urge authorities not only to condemn these attacks, but to take concrete action to hold the perpetrators accountable and show that their actions will not be tolerated."
Nationalist demonstrators overnight targeted dozens of offices of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in demonstrations with the accusation of the party being the political wing of the PKK, following a succession of deadly attacks on the armed forces and police by the PKK. The Hürriyet daily building was also attacked on Tuesday evening for the second time and it is not known as of yet whether the groups that attacked the TMG building and Hürriyet's building had the same motivations.
Thirteen police officers were killed Tuesday in a bomb attack by the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. Terrorists also organized a roadside bombing in southeastern Hakkari two days before, killing 16 soldiers.
Urging for the declaration of a state of emergency as a constitutional solution, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said on Tuesday that people are showing their reactions against terror and even implied that "a historical march" on the Presidential Palace "might be inevitable and had been witnessed before in many countries."
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on his Twitter account Tuesday evening condemned the attacks on media, political parties and civilian property and urged citizens to remain calm during the operations launched on the PKK. He also gave instructions to take the necessary measures toward preserving public order and possible attacks on media organizations, sources close to the Prime Ministry said.