Journalists in Turkey protest violent arrest of AFP photographer

ANKARA / ISTANBUL — Dozens of journalists in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara staged public protests in front of public buildings on Wednesday to denounce the violent arrest of an Agence France-Presse photographer Bülent Kiliç.

During his arrest, police officers pinned Kiliç to the ground, one officer pressing his knee into Kiliç’s neck making it difficult for him to breathe. He was then taken to the police station and released several hours later. Kiliç has filed a “violent arrest” complaint against the officers.

Hundreds of civilians in Ankara and Istanbul, mostly journalists, took to the streets to denounce Kiliç’s ill-treatment. In front of Istanbul’s City Hall, they chanted “the press cannot be muzzled” and “a free press and a free state”.

The protesters also carried banners with slogans demanding absolute freedom for journalists and press work in Turkey.

For its part, the AFP strongly protested the arrest of its employee, calling for an urgent investigation into the incident and action against the police officers involved.