Turkey’s escalating crackdown on journalism has gone well beyond incarcerating the odd foreign journalist for covering stories the government wanted to ignore.
There have been mob actions at newspaper headquarters, including those of Hurriyet Daily News, which reports on new video of a speech given by a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to protesters on September 6 outside its own offices:
“They had never had a beating before. Our mistake was that we never beat them in the past. If we had beaten them…” AKP’s Istanbul deputy and youth organization head Abdürrahim Boynukalın said in the video, mocking Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin and columnist Ahmet Hakan for their reactions as approximately 200 assailants smashed the newspaper building’s front windows with stones and clubs.
He also reveals in the video that he mulled over waiting for Hakan in front of his house to “pull him over.”
In another video published previously, Boynukalın was seen vowing to “make Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the president” with extended powers – regardless of the result of the Nov. 1 election, while describing media organizations as “terrorists.”
Boynukalin also said there would be more “protests” directed at media organizations which “express an attitude that whitewashes violence with biased reports,” thus revealing a somewhat under-developed sense of irony. Hurriyet also says that he’s tweeted support for al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, which reveals an under-development of sense, period.
The pugnacious Boynukalin popped up in an al-Monitor story last week about AKP moving to purge its moderates. “Moderates” seems roughly synonymous with “everyone who disagrees with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” who co-founded the party and was celebrated as its “eternal leader” at their convention in Ankara but is technically no longer a member of it because the presidency is supposed to be non-partisan.
Boynukalin, who is 28 and head of the AKP’s youth organization, was applauded at the convention as a “rising star” and promoted to a plum party office. Al-Monitor adds to the account of Boynukalin’s exploits during the protest at Hurriyet Daily News by noting that he condemned the publishing company as a “terrorist organization” and “vowed that it would be ‘kicked out’ of Turkey after the upcoming November elections.”