Turkish pro-gov't daily targets bar associations for condemning racist attacks against Kurds

Turkish pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper targeted 15 bar associations from southeast Turkey after they released a statement condemning the recent racist attacks on Kurdish families. The daily called the bar associations "barons of Qandil," in reference to the headquarters of the PKK in northern Iraq mountains.

Duvar English

The ultra-conservative Turkish daily Yeni Şafak targeted 15 bar associations on its July 23 front page after they released a statement the day before condemning the recent racist attacks on Kurdish families and workers in Turkey. 

In a July 21 statement, the southeastern and eastern bar associations of Adıyaman, Ağrı, Bingöl, Bitlis, Batman, Dersim, Diyarbakır, Hakkari, Kars, Mardin, Muş, Siirt, Urfa, Şırnak and Van urged the government to look into the attacks that had become all too common.

The daily Yeni Şafak made a play on the word "bar" on its front page on July 23, calling the 15 associations "barons of Qandil" in reference to the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq mountains. 

Yeni Şafak described the bar associations' statement as "ethnic provocation," while claiming that the murders stemmed from "ordinary disagreements," even though the brutal July 21 killing of Kurdish Hakim Dal was undertaken by a 60-person mob. 

Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Nahit Eren said in a tweet on July 23 that the language used by Yeni Şafak is the "continuation of racism" against Kurds in Turkey. 

"I strongly condemn this triggering headline that targets bar associations. We will ask about this targeting in the court of law," Eren wrote. 

Batman Bar Association Chairman Erkan Şenses said that the newspaper's headline further "encourages and supports racial hate and intolerance" and urged the Turkish Press Council to take an action. 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu also slammed Yeni Şafak over its headline, saying the newspaper knows no boundaries. 

"Days in which you will give an account before the judiciary are not far away," Tanrıkulu wrote on Twitter. 

The bar associations' statement came in response to Dal's killing on July 21, which marked the fourth attack on Kurdish persons in Turkey in the past two weeks.