Daily Evrensel's journalist based in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır was detained on Aug. 24 by three police officers who tried to convince him to work as a police informant.
Journalist Cengiz Anıl Bölükbaş told the police officers that he would never quit his job and “accept their proposal of spying.” In the face of this answer, the police officers reportedly threatened Bölükbaş and told him, “Ok, you might doing a legal job, but some organizations here are getting involved with illegal jobs, bombs are exploding, and you would not want to take on this responsibility.”
Bölükbaş made the these comments during an interview with Mezopotamya news agency on Aug. 26, two days after he was stopped by the police officers in questions and “invited” for a tea.
Bölükbaş said that the police officers were very well informed about his past and family and had been been following him since 14 months ago.
“They talked about the lawsuits and investigations that have been launched against me. They said that if my sister ever wished to become a civil servant, even if she was not involved in any political incidents, my lawsuits would be an obstacle for her. They said that if I wanted, they would be of help,” Bölükbaş said.
Thepolice officers reportedly told Bölükbaş that they would provide“material and moral support,” but in return asked for“information.”
“They said, 'You are a journalist of daily Evrensel and also a member of Labor Party [Emek Partisi]. You are running various works at these platforms. What you are doing is legal, but it might go illegal at some point...We want you to be careful at this point. Various meeting and works are being held at these platforms; and we are deciphering a part of them with tehnical means. But 20 percent of them cannot be deciphered. We want you to give information about this part,'” Bölükbaş said.
When Evrensel journalist said that this was a proposal of “spying,” the police officers reportedly told him to think of this “offer” as “simply friendship.” “They told me, 'We are civil servants, but we are also against capitalism. So we understand you,'” Bölükbaş said.
Bölükbaş said that although he several times indicated that he would never consider the police officers' proposal, he had been told, “Even if you say 'No' to us, we will continue to follow you.”
“I interpret this oppression as an open attack against someone's character and personal values. Their declaration that they have been following me for the last 13-14 months in Diyarbakır and their declaration that they will continue to follow me in a persistent way despite not accepting their proposal is a form of harassment,” Bölükbaş said.