Amidst growing tensions between Turkey and Russia due to escalation of conflict in Syria’s Idlib following death of 36 Turkish soldiers in an air strike, Russian publication Sputnik’s Turkey offices have been raided by police, far right mob physically assaulted Sputnik journalists and 4 newsroom representatives were detained for brief period.
Following death of dozens of Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib in air strikes, angry nationalist mob in Ankara assaulted Russian news platform Sputnik’s Ankara employees’ homes chanting slogans “martyrs never die” in the first hours of March 1.
Following assault against homes of Sputnik employees, the three journalists were detained due to a news article depicting the city of Hatay as ‘stolen land’ that explained “why Hatay was given to Turkey by France 80 years ago” as a disputed piece of land between Turkey and Syria in 1930s.
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted against detention of Sputnik journalists, calling on Turkish authorities to bring the matter under light and secure conditions for representatives of Russian press organizations.
Sputnik Turkey’s chief editor Mahir Boztepe was later also detained in Istanbul and taken to police headquarters; at the time time police started a search in Boztepe’s office.
In the later hours the three journalists were released.
G9 Journalism Organizations Platform released a statement for detained journalists on Turkey’s border to Greece as well as 3 Sputnik journalists in Ankara, calling on reasons for the responsible people for obstructions to press freedom to be founded and judicial process to be initiated against them.
Main opposition CHP deputy Utku Çakırözer reacted against Sputnik journalists getting detained, “whatever the political tension between countries, journalists should not be made to pay a price; harassment in their personal lives is unacceptable.”
Finally Sputnik chief editor Mahir Boztepe was also released after police finished searching his offices in Istanbul.