Left-wing Turkish newspaper Evrensel reported on Sunday that Zeynep Tunçel, its reader and distributor were abducted and beaten by a group of unidentified people who accused her of resisting to the government.
Tunçel took a phone call from an unknown number at 8.30 am through which told her that her cousin had had a traffic accident in İzmir’s Bayraklı district. When she made it to the given address in Bayraklı, four people got out of an approaching black-colored car with no license plate on it, and called out her name.
“They forced me into the car and took to a hills in Bayraklı. They didn’t even respond when I asked them who they were. They took me off and tied my arms when we arrived in the hill. They began insulting me,” Tunçel was quoted as talking to Evrensel. She filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office.
“They questioned me asking: ‘Don’t you have a sense of shame? How dare you resist to the state! What was your purpose of distributing the newspapers?’ and they slapped me at every question,” she further elaborated.
According to Evrensel, unknown thugs briefly confiscated Tunçel’s phone to check out her messages, social media accounts and pictures; threatened her before letting her go. “We are not done with you yet,” they reportedly shouted.
Tunçel says they even sent a text message to her friend with whom she distributes Evrensel daily to its subscribers every Sunday, saying she is not available that Sunday as her sister was ill.
“One of them kicked me in my knee and the other one hit me in the face. I got hurt on the left part of my lips and I had a gingival bleeding. When I ultimately got up they were already gone.”
Attacks to media personnel are nothing new in Turkey as a man carried out a failed armed attack on veteran journalist Can Dündar last year. Turkish government itself seized several media outlets with violent police raids over the past two years and attacked hundreds of media personnel with water cannon and tear gas.
Turkey currently keeps 144 journalists under arrest.