Two Voice of America journalists were assaulted in Turkey while on assignment Wednesday, June 8.
VOA Turkish contributing reporter Mahmut Bozarslan was shooting video in Midyat, Turkey, the scene of a car bombing Wednesday, when a group of young people demanded that he stop filming. The gang beat and kicked Bozarslan, and broke his camera. He was hospitalized with injuries to his head and body.
VOA Kurdish contributing reporter Hatice Kamer also was covering the bombing, when she was approached by a group of men who demanded that she stop shooting video. She refused and identified herself as a VOA reporter. The gang then attacked Kamer with rocks. Kamer also sustained head injuries and was hospitalized.
“The attacks on Voice of America journalists are unacceptable,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said. “We condemn the violence against our reporters. We demand that the Turkish government bring these attackers to justice and ensure the safety of all journalists working in Turkey. This intimidation will not deter VOA from its mission to report the truth.”
“The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls on Turkish authorities to enforce the rule of law with respect to these attacks,” BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing said. “The people of Turkey deserve unfettered access to the reliable news and information. We will not tolerate violence against our journalists.”
Kamer and Bozarslan were reporting on a car bombing outside a police station in Midyat, near the Syrian border. A police officer and two civilians were killed and at least 30 others were wounded in the blast, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who blamed Kurdish militants for the attack.
VOA Turkish is a multimedia Internet and television service, with programming carried nationally on Turkey’s TGRT News TV Channel. The service also is affiliated with Mynet, one of the leading online news and entertainment portals in Turkey with more than 6.5 million registered members and 38 million unique monthly visitors. VOA Turkish also has a substantial audience in Europe, Cyprus and the Middle East.
VOA Kurdish reaches its audience on radio, television and the Internet. In addition to shortwave and AM, the service’s programs are broadcast by FM affiliates in several cities in Iraq, including Arbil, Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. VOA Kurdish also produces video reports that are streamed on its website. VOA programs are intended for the more than 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East and Eurasia, and the approximately one million Kurds in Europe and North America.