In the second incident in two days and the fifth during May, an opposition journalist in Turkey was attacked in the capital city of Ankara, according to local media.
As reported by T24, Turkish journalist and former columnist, with left-wing nationalist Turkish daily Aydınlık Sabahattin Onkibar, was hospitalised after being attacked in front of his home in Ankara.
According to local residents, three people attacked Onkibar forcing him on the ground and kicking him, independent news site T24 said on Saturday May 25th.
Onkibar, who was taken to a hospital and did not suffer serious injuries, has filed a criminal complaint about the incident.
T24 added that the former Aydınlık columnist resigned from the paper in April, citing the daily’s recent publications of pro-government articles.
Onkibar is the fifth journalist to be attacked in Turkey in May.
The chief editor of the southern Turkish regional Guney Haberci newspaper Ercin Çevik, Yeniçağ columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ, Akdeniz Yeni Yuzyıl newspaper columnist İdris Ozyol and Hakan Denizli, the founder of Adana Egemen newspaper, were also attacked in separate incidents.
On his Twitter account, Onkibar said that he is fine and confirmed he is continuing the struggle, adding “nothing will threaten him”.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey has condemned the attack against Denizli, who was assaulted with a gun and injured, when he was leaving his home.
Since the July 2016 coup attempt, the Turkish government, led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has cracked down on journalists, and Turkey has become the world's leading jailer of journalists over the past three years.
On May 4th, the World Press Freedom Index said Turkey ranked 157th out of 180 in 2019, the same as last year. It described Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime, as the world's worst jailer of journalists after a crackdown following the failed coup in 2016.
The World Press Freedom report said that intimidation, self-censorship and outright censorship is a continued problem.
Meanwhile, Freedom House (FH), a Washington-based NGO that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, has concluded that Turkey is now extending its efforts to suppress critical journalists beyond its borders in a global crackdown on what the Erdogan regime perceives to be enemies of the state. In its annual report, FH said that more than 175 journalists and media workers are imprisoned in Turkey.
In addition, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which tracks the status of journalists who are jailed for their work activities, stated that in 2018 Turkey was found to have the highest number – 68 – of imprisoned journalists in the world.
Moreover, in February, the International Press Institute (IPI) said that Turkey has failed to restore press freedom after ending emergency rule in July last year, but has rather extended media restrictions put in place following the July 2016 failed coup.