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As the physical assaults targeting journalists have surged especially over the last three weeks, the High Council of the Press Council of Turkey has sent a letter of the six journalists who were attacked in this period.
Signed by Press Council Chair Pınar Türenç, the letter has underlined that the main target of these attacks is not only the members of the press, but also people's right to obtain information and added, "You are not alone."
The letter has been sent to the following journalists: Yavuz Selim Demirağ, a program producer for Türkiyem TV and a columnist for daily Yeni Çağ; Sabahattin Önkibar, a columnist for the Odatv news website; İdris Özyol, a columnist for the Antalya-based Akdeniz'de Yeni Yüzyıl newspaper; Hakan Denizli, the Grant Holder of the Adana-based daily Egemen newspaper; Ergin Çevik, the Editor-in-Chief of Antalya-based Güney Haberci news website; Mehmet Eren, a reporter for the Kastamonu Ajans 37.
Some highlights from the letter are as follows:
"As the despicable assault against you has also shown, these incidents making an attempt on the lives of our colleagues doing critical journalism occur in a systematic and pre-planned manner. The methods of assaulters give the impression that they are directed from the same center.
"It is clear that these unacceptable attacks aim to disregard people's right to obtain information and to frighten, threaten and intimidate the ones doing critical journalism. Though the ones making a target out of journalists, who are obliged to obtain the news and publish them for the public good, have to be penalized, the criminals are being released, which is causing an outrage among the press community and the public.
"Our media, which is brought to the point of suffocating with censorship, is subjected to systematic attacks by groups directed from similar centers, which cannot be accepted in any democratic state of law.
"Though these attacks have targeted journalists, they do, in fact, display the method of punishing people who want to learn the truth."
Concluding the letter, the High Council has extended their get well soon wishes to the journalists and told them "You are not alone."
Making a call to the authorities to take the necessary legal actions in an impartial manner, the Council has warned, "Otherwise, these attacks would become ordinary and lead to unavoidable sorrows." (HA/SD)