Journalist threatened with death by police: Police repression against journalists in Ankara is chronic

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  • 17:09 11 October 2021
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ANKARA - Threatened by the police, Journalist Tamer Arda Erşin, told that the police told him, "I will cut you into four pieces", and said, "This situation in Ankara is chronic and we can not follow the news."

ANKA reporter Tamer Arda Erşin, who was following the commemoration that was planned to be held in front of Ankara Train Station on the anniversary of the October 10 Ankara Massacre, in which 104 people lost their lives as a result of the ISIS suicide attack, was threatened with death by the police who said, "I will cut you into four pieces". Erşin, who has been a journalist in Ankara for a long time, was also subjected to the insults of the police.

Describing the events to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA), Erşin said that he predicted that tension would increase when the Ankara Governor's Office removed the memorial trees placed by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality to commemorate October 10, the night before. Erşin said, “This tension at night seemed to be reflected in the morning as well. Families wanted to enter the area from a certain point, so I went on and followed a group at the Ulus Metro exit and enter the area. The group I was with was threatened by the police who later intervened the group with pepper sprey minutes later. In the meantime, we tried to take pictures with my other journalist friends. Then the police started harassing us, preventing us from taking pictures.

POLICE: I WILL CUT YOU INTO FOUR PIECES

Noting that they continued on their way from far away from the crowd, Erşin said, "I asked the two policemen standing guard under the Opera Bridge, 'How can we enter the area where the commemoration will take place, as members of the press?' Just then, another plainclothes policeman came running up to me. He started yelling at us, 'Didn't I tell you to go away,' and I tried to express myself. After all, I have the Turquoise Press Card given by the Presidency of Communications. I was just asking how we could get into the area where the commemoration was going to take place as a journalist. But that police suddenly called a riot police team. He started insulting me and then said, 'I will cut you into four pieces.

Stating that this is the first time he has faced such a threat, Erşin stated that he was a member of the press again and asked the reason for this treatment, and continued: The place we were in at that moment was a very secluded area, we would not even have eyewitnesses if they attacked us. Even the journalists next to me were nervous. Somehow we got out of there and continued trying to get to the place where the commemoration was going to take place. At the entrance of the area, the police only let me and another journalist friend who had the Turquoise Press Card in.”

WE CANNOT FOLLOW NEWS

Stating that the incident he experienced is an example of the attitude of the police in Ankara towards journalists, Erşin said, “As members of the press in Ankara, plainclothes police cause us difficulties on a daily basis. This situation in Ankara is chronic, and we can not follow the news. This kind of thing has happened to other friends of mine before."

'THEY MUST STOP CRIMINALIZING JOURNALISM'

Reminding that he is the director of the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS), Erşin said that they had taken action before and filed a criminal complaint regarding the attitude of the police. Adding that the attitude of the Governor's Office and the police has not changed until now, Erşin said, "Something needs to change in this city now. My call to the Governor's Office and the Ministry of Interior is that the police in the Police Department should be trained. Journalists do not argue with the police or the protesters. We are there as a third eye to observe and convey the news. We are trying to bring what happened to society with all its reality. They should stop criminalizing journalism."

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