Journalist Güngör Arslan was murdered yesterday night, 19 February, by a gunman who opened fire in the office of the local news site Ses Kocaeli in Kocaeli province, northwest Turkey.
Arslan was taken to Kocaeli State Hospital where he died shortly after. He had reportedly been attacked several times previously, and four years ago, he posted a video message on his social media account stating that he could be murdered like other journalists who have been murdered in Turkey.
“As you all know, I am a journalist. I have been doing journalism in this city for nearly 30 years. I don’t do anything else. It is more or less clear what will happen to you when you do journalism in this country. I will not be the first journalist in this country nor will I be the last, to be attacked, imprisoned or shot dead for being a journalist. Abdi İpekçi and Uğur Mumcu were killed in this country, dozens of journalists have been and still are in prison. Dozens, hundreds of journalists have also been physically attacked, and I am one of those. I was also subjected to such an attack last night. This is not the first attack that has happened to me; I have been subjected to armed attacks and assassination attempts in many places before now. These things will definitely continue to happen to me. And the reason is, I’m trying to do journalism.I have written today, and I will continue to write tomorrow,” he said in the video.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shared a message regarding Arslan’s murder.
“We call on the Turkish authorities to launch a swift and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding journalist Güngör Arslan’s killing and to determine whether journalism was a possible motive for the shooting,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia programme coordinator Gulnoza Said in New York. “The fact that police apprehended the suspect and found a weapon is promising. Now they must ensure that everyone involved in the killing, including any potential masterminds, are brought to justice.”
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that it is appalled by the murder of Arslan.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP for İzmir Tuncay Özkan posted the following statement on his social media account;
“Why was journalist Güngör Arslan not protected? Who killed him, @PoliceHQ? Who are the murderers and the mafia behind them? Which corruption case was he killed for working on? Who is protecting the killers and those behind them? Light must be thrown on the murder of this journalist! We’re not going to not let this murder go!”
It has been revealed that Arslan had previously written about corruption allegations against Kocaeli Municipality. The newspaper building had also previously been attacked by the mafia.
In his last column published yesterday, Arslan referred to various corruption allegations regarding Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tahir Büyükakın. Büyükakın, from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was elected as Mayor of Kocaeli Municipality in 2019. Arslan had claimed that a construction tender in the city had been awarded illegally by Büyükakın to Haldız İnşaat, the company of a close friend.