January 19, 2024

19.01.2024 – Journalist Altan Sancar from Türkiye / Turkey Exposes Continuing Threats on Social Media Platforms

Turkish journalist and human rights defender Altan Sancar, who is currently working for PolitikYol (@politikyol – https://www.politikyol.com/), and who worked in the past for newsportal Diken and online Özgürüz Radyo, recently found himself targeted on social media when an individual sent him a threatening photo depicting bullets arranged on the Turkish flag. It is not the first threat Sancar received and he expressed deep frustration over the lack of progress in previous criminal complaints related to similar incidents that have unfolded over the past four years.

Sancar highlighted that he initiated criminal complaints regarding threats that he started to receive four years ago and an alarming incident in Diyarbakır, Türkiye / Turkey two years ago, yet no one was arrested in either case.

Altan Sancar previously faced a threatening incident on 23 March 2022 in Diyarbakır, Türkiye / Turkey, about what SEEMO reported. While driving private alone, Sancar encountered a roadblock set up by another car, and two unidentified men approached him. One man, displaying the handle of a gun tucked in his pants, warned Sancar that he was in a dangerous area. He filed a criminal complaint on the same day, expressing concerns for his safety. This incident follows a 2020 threat on social media platform, where an anonymous account warned him of death. Sancar believes the threats are linked to his political reporting.

This incident adds to a concerning pattern of persistent intimidation against Sancar, reflecting a broader trend of threats against journalists and human rights defenders in Türkiye / Turkey. The situation raises questions about the effectiveness of mechanisms to protect journalists and punish those responsible for such threats. The persistence of such threats underscores the urgent need for a robust response to ensure the safety and freedom of the press in the country.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the recent threat against Altan Sancar in Türkiye / Turkey, expressing deep concern over the safety and well-being of journalists operating in the region. Journalists should be able to carry out their work without fear of intimidation or harm, and any attempt to silence them through threats or violence is a direct attack on press freedom. SEEMO calls on Turkish authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident, identify the perpetrators, and ensure the protection of Altan Sancar and other journalists facing similar threats. Safeguarding the freedom and safety of journalists is paramount for fostering a democratic society and upholding the principles of a free press.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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