EU, OSCE condemn attack on Zaman offices in France, Germany

February 17, 2012, Friday/ 18:14:00

The European Union has condemned attacks on offices of Turkey's Zaman daily in Cologne and Paris, wishing that the perpetrators of the attacks to be brought to justice soon.

“We condemn latest attacks on offices of a Turkish-language daily [Zaman] in European countries,” Peter Stano, spokesperson for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle, said in a statement he released Friday.

He said Germany and France have started investigation into the incidents and wished that the perpetrators will be brought to justice very soon.

Supporters of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacked the Zaman daily’s offices in Paris and Cologne on Wednesday, threatening newspaper staff and causing material damage to the buildings.

Zaman’s offices in Cologne were also attacked by PKK supporters on Wednesday night when a pro-PKK group threw Molotov cocktails at the Zaman building. German police detained two people on suspected links to the attack.

Europe’s largest body also condemned the attacks on Zaman bureaus in Cologne and Paris on Friday, warning that the incidents threaten free reporting.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, on Friday condemned attacks on the Paris and Cologne Zaman offices, and called for a thorough investigation in a statement released by the OSCE.

“The attacks on Zaman's editorial offices not only create fear in those directly affected, they also damage media freedom by attempting to silence journalists for their reporting,” Mijatovic said.

Mijatovic said attacks and intimidation against a media outlet and its journalists are “unacceptable.” “I am relieved that no one was injured and that the French and German authorities have launched investigations,” she added.  “I hope that the perpetrators will be soon brought to justice.”

In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also strongly condemned the attacks on the Zaman offices in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, calling on foreign governments not to tolerate such attacks.

Deeming the attacks on press institutions an attack to freedom of expression, Davutoğlu demanded European governments take the firmest measures against similar attacks, arguing that “… because freedom of expression is a value that has to be defended throughout Europe.”

He said Turkish authorities are currently pursuing the incident with their French counterparts and having similar talks in other relevant European countries to prevent other attacks from happening again.

Expressing his sadness, Davutoğlu said Turkey gives its full support to press members exposing to such attacks, no matter in which part of the world they are.

The International Press Institute (IPI) also condemned the attacks on Friday. IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said “we condemn these attacks and we hope that German and French authorities conduct swift, transparent and complete investigations that hold all of the perpetrators accountable,” in a statement the IPI released on Friday.

“We also reiterate that it is absolutely unacceptable to resort to violence against journalists to express political disagreement with them,” he said.

 

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