A presenter for Islamist TV channel Akit TV has called for bombing opposition daily Cumhuriyet, sparking outrage on social media.
“Let’s gather altogether and throw a hand grenade in front of daily Cumhuriyet,” Fatin Dağıstanlı said on Dec. 20, as he commented on an article published in the daily regarding a religious workshop that was titled “Sharia Workshop.”
“After I saw the headline, I said ‘Cumhuriyet is drawing us into a trap.’ Cumhuriyet waged war against sharia. If you are publishing a headline saying ‘Sharia Workshop,’ you are inviting someone. They are pointing us as a target with that headline, because they feed on chaos,” Dağıstanlı also said.
Daily Akit and Akit TV are known to be fundamentalist and provocative media outlets that engage in hate speech frequently. They also call for attacks against opposition journalists and have a pro-jihadist stance – to the extent of publishing an obituary following the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Although Dağıstanlı’s remarks constitute a crime in Turkey, prosecutors are yet to take action in the face of his threats.
Cumhuriyet, on the other hand, is known to be an opposition daily. Many of its former journalists served time in jail, while a number of them were killed in the past.
This is not the first time that Akit targeted Cumhuriyet, with another of the channel’s presenters saying that it’s “allowed to kill those like you during wartime” last year.
Messages of support poured following the threat, with lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), as well as press groups and bar associations urging prosecutors to take action.
“This can’t be accepted as being within press freedom. This needs to be punished. Otherwise, those who failed to take action would be responsible for anything that might happen to Cumhuriyet staff,” CHP deputy Utku Çakırözer said, while Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) said that a press statement will be released in front of Cumhuriyet on Dec. 23 to protest the judiciary’s inaction.