Halk TV attackers claim to be suffered party, file criminal complaints

A group of people who last week attacked a live broadcast of the opposition Halk TV, have filed criminal complaints against the TV channel's crew, under the pretense that they were the ones who were battered.

The crew of the opposition Halk TV were attacked by a group of five people who wanted to go on air at midnight on Aug. 5.

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A group of people have filed criminal complaints against the opposition Halk TV despite themselves attacking the TV channel's crew, online news outlet T24 reported on Aug. 8.

In their testimonies, the attackers claimed that they were the suffered party.

They all said that they wanted to appear on the Halk TV's outdoor live broadcast due to “lies being uttered in a way blaming the state.”

At midnight on Aug. 5, the mob attacked Halk TV's live broadcast in the fire-stricken district of Marmaris and threatened to block the crew from filming if they did not like or agree with what was said.

Despite the footage showing the attack, the assailants were released from police custody shortly after their detention.

One of the attackers named Bilal Topaloğlu claimed in his testimony that he was battered during a brawl that took place after Halk TV crew did not let them appear on the program.

“Mert Topaloğlu [one of the other attackers] has fallen on the ground due to a physical blow. As I tried to lift him up, I have been battered. I do not know who tried to batter me. Since the setting was crowded, threats and insults were being heard. I have not battered anyone,” Bilal Topaloğlu said.

Mert Topaloğlu, who attacked the Halk TV crew with a glass bottle in his hand, denied hitting anyone with the bottle.

“To protect my life, I have gotten a glass bottle from the trash can. But I have not hit anyone with the bottle. As they have claimed, I did not attempt to break the bottle by hitting it on the wall. They have themselves taken the bottle from my hand. On the contrary, I was the one who has been battered,” Mert Topaloğlu said.

He further claimed he was the one who was the suffered party due to what he said a fracture in the ankle stemming from a fall.

Following the Aug. 5 attack on Halk TV crew, İlhan Taşçı, a member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said that the incident is a “serious blow” to the freedom of speech and press.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is under serious criticism over his government's inadequate response to raging wildfires.

During an interview on Aug. 4, Erdoğan accused opposition parties of perpetuating a “terror of lies” for criticizing Turkey’s lack of adequate aerial firefighting capabilities and inadequate preparedness in the face of large-scale wildfires.