Turkish journalist critical of government attacked

AP News
Posted: Oct 01, 2015 4:35 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A prominent journalist who is critical of the government was beaten by four assailants outside his home, his newspaper said Thursday, weeks after a ruling party legislator was caught on video threatening attacks.

Police say four suspects have been arrested over the attack which drew widespread condemnation.

Hurriyet newspaper said columnist Ahmet Hakan suffered a broken nose and cracked ribs in the attack late Wednesday.

The newspaper said the four assailants had followed the journalist to his home from a television station where he moderates a political debate program. They assaulted him and a body guard as they left his car.

Omer Celik, a spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party, denounced the attack through his Twitter account saying "there can be no justification for attacks on journalists."

The U.S. Embassy said: "Those who seek to intimidate journalists with violence are fighting a losing battle. Free speech cannot be beaten into silence."

Last month, Hurriyet's headquarters was vandalized by a mob following verbal attacks on the newspaper by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Media rights advocates accuse Turkey's government of stifling media freedoms.