Attacks by police against journalists during protests, and more particularly two recent attempts by unidentified people claiming to be police officers to force female journalists to serve as police informants, have led to the release of a press statement by a group of organisations.
The joint statement, by the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association, the Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform (MGKP), the Press and Publishing Workers’ Union of Turkey and the Diyarbakır Branch of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey, was read out by MGKP spokesperson Ayşe Güney at the headquarters of the Diyarbakır (Amed) Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), according to Jin News.
Emphasising that two recent events show clearly how unrestrained some state officials are, Güney said, “These events show to what extent they’re ready to operate outside the law.”
“It is female journalists who have been subjected to these threats and immoral pressures. The fact that they are the reporters of Turkey’s only women’s news agency makes the matter even graver.”
She went on, explaining the events:
“JinNews reporters Gülistan Azak and Dilan Babat were threatened on July 28 and 29 respectively. They were pressurised to serve as police informants by people who claimed to be from an intelligence unit. In the first event, JinNews Diyarbakır correspondent Gülistan Azak was pulled into an unmarked vehicle in Diyarbakır on 28 July. The two men in the car introduced themselves as members of an intelligence unit. They asked her to provide information on people from the Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP] who were close to ‘the organisation’. Then they started putting pressure on her relating to her journalistic work. They drove her around the city for a while. Then they said she didn’t understand their intentions, and let her go after they said they hoped to gain her trust one day.”
Güney said it was their conclusion that the people in the vehicle were from the intelligence department of the police force.
“They openly threatened our friend and pressurised her to work as their informant,” she added.
In relation to the second event she said:
“On 29 July JinNews Ankara correspondent Dilan Babat was called by someone she did not know, who wanted to get in touch with her. It seems it was someone who had confronted Dilan two years previously, presenting himself as a police intelligence officer. He had proposed having a glass of tea and a chat with Dilan, saying he didn’t want her to waste her life. He had gone away when Dilan reacted against this, telling her that he would call her later.”
Güney continued, saying that some time after the first incident Dilan had started receiving threats from a social media account with the name ‘Code-name Yeşil’, calling to mind a notorious rogue agent of the Turkish Gendarmerie Intelligence Organisation from the 90s with the same code name, who is wanted for multiple murder.
She tried to block the calls, but the man continued to call and harass her from different lines.