The 6 May gun attack against Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar, who, along with colleague Erdem Gül is on trial for lifting the lid on how the Turkish government sent weapons to Syria, lays bare how close those who are devoid of respect for the law – or just plain respect – have brought Turkey to the precipice.
Dündar and Gül were painted as a target by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for their story about the weapons, with the head of state saying: “I reckon the people that did this story will pay a heavy price. I won’t let them go.” Dündar and Gül were arrested last November as they went to provide testimony and remained in prison for around 90 days before being released by the Constitutional Court.
After the news, President Erdoğan, who has never missed an opportunity to threaten the journalists and depict them as “traitors to the homeland,” said he did not “recognize or respect” the decision.
The bullets fired at Can Dündar were fired at the freedom of the press and expression in Turkey, as well as the public’s right to access the news. This attack, which attempted to silence journalists conducting critical reporting on the government’s stance on the war at our doorstep, was an open threat to everyone in Turkey who desires peace, those who are chasing the truth in the fight for peace and our colleagues who are attempting to practice their craft without toeing the government’s line.
We will continue our struggle with determined steps against not only those who pull the trigger, but against those who encourage them to do so. We will not abandon this land to those who recognize no law but their own and those who would hold us hostage with their empire of fear.
We extend our wishes for a speedy recovery to Yağız Şenkal, who was wounded in the attack on Dündar, and state once more our determination to sustain our battle for a free country and a free press.