A delivery man for the pro-Kurdish opposition daily Yeni Yasam newspaper was beaten by police and security officers in Istanbul’s Gayrettepe district, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Tuesday.
Newspaper delivery man Hasan Ceyhan told MA that two police officers and one security guard physically assaulted and insulted him in a cabin near the metro exit for more than an hour.
“I was taking the metro when I was passed out during an epileptic seizure and I found myself at the Gayrettepe metro station. After receiving medical intervention from the paramedics, the security staff and police searched my bag and found copies of the Yeni Yasam daily,” Ceyhan explained.
“Then, they took me to the security cabin and beat me there for more than an hour. They also insulted me saying that I was a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘traitor’ and threatened to ‘put a bullet in my head’. I was finally released after being forced to sign a statement saying I would not file complaints against them,” he added.
Ceyhan said he was determined to press charges against the police officers and the security personnel using the assault report that he got following a physical examination at the hospital.
The MA also quoted Ceyhan saying that the officers accused the Yeni Yasam newspaper of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed militant group.
For more than three decades, the PKK, which is deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara, has been fighting for self-rule in the predominantly Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey.
Turkish government’s crackdown on media outlets and journalists critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has widened following an attempted coup in July 2016.
More than 160 media organizations have been shut down in Turkey as the Turkish president tightened his grip on power following the failed coup.
According to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international media rights group, Turkey ranks 157th out of 180 countries.