Journalist investigated for criticizing authorities over failure to protect Kurdish family

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Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into Özgür Boğatekin, the news editor of a local newspaper in southeastern Turkey, for allegedly provoking public hatred and enmity due to a social media post in which he criticized the authorities for failing to protect members of a Kurdish family that was killed on Friday in what appears to be a racist attack, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Boğatekin said he was invited to the police department as part of an investigation started by the public prosecutor’s office in the Gerger district of Adıyaman province due to a Facebook post where he said: “We know that the same government which failed to protect and provide security to a Kurdish family … has been providing security to murderers for years. Shame on you.”

In his statement Boğatekin denied the accusations and said he had criticized the government as a journalist and had no intention of provoking the public.

Seven members of a Kurdish family were killed Friday in central Turkey by armed assailants who tried to burn their house down in what rights activists said was a racist attack.

The Dedeoğlu family had been seriously injured in another attack in the middle of May by neighbors who warned them that they “will not let Kurds live here” in Konya.

According to the Bianet news website Boğatekin was investigated for the same accusation last year for sharing news of a racist attack against Kurdish seasonal farm laborers.

Turkey is ranked 153rd among 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in April.

According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 173 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.

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