Turkish journalist detained over comments about the guerrilla action in Ankara

The long-time journalist Aysenur Arslan is accused of 'making propaganda for a terrorist organization' and 'praising the crime and the criminal' after her comments about the action carried out by the Brigade of Immortals in Ankara two days ago.

Aysenur Arslan, host of the Medya Mahallesi (Media Quarter) program on Turkish Halk TV, was detained on Tuesday because of her comments on the action that targeted the Security General Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs near the Parliament in Kızılay, in Ankara on 1 October. The action was carried out on the day when MPs met in parliament for the first time after the summer recess.

The sacrificial action was carried out by a team affiliated with the Brigade of the Immortals, according to the People’s Defense Center (HSM) Headquarters Command.

In yesterday's program, Ayşenur Arslan said: "The person who is said to have blown himself up may not have known that there was a remote-controlled explosive on the terrorist or in the car. Because it's so meaningless to come and do nothing and to die. If you ask me, it is not reasonable, because he blew himself up for no apparent reason. But, of course, this is one of the things that are difficult to understand for me, otherwise I cannot make any claims. But why kill a car driver?... It's so easy, you will unlock a car with the key, turn on the ignition, and go after taking the bomb. Why do this in Kayseri, when you can do it in Ankara? Is it in order to show that they are carrying bombs behind and guns on our belts; or what?" 

Arslan was taken into custody today in connection with an investigation launched by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. The long-time journalist is accused of 'making propaganda for a terrorist organization' and 'praising the crime and the criminal'.

The journalist was then referred to the Istanbul Courthouse where she gave a statement. Speaking to the journalists outside the courthouse, she said: "Serious things are happening to many people, and I would be ashamed to consider this as an issue on my behalf. It's been a bit of a tiring process, and it coincided with a time when my health was not in good shape, so I will be in a speaking hiatus for a while. I will certainly inform you. I would like to thank everyone, especially my young colleagues, for their interest."

In the meantime, Cafer Mahiroğlu, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Halk TV, announced their decision to end the Medya Mahallesi program following the announcement of the investigation by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) into the Medya Mahallesi program and the TV channel.

Mahiroğlu said: “Although terrorism was condemned in the same program, the unfortunate words spoken live in the Medya Mahallesi program aired yesterday go beyond the limits of Halk TV's stance and perspective. Therefore, we announce with regret that we have decided to end the program."