Journalist Sinan Aygül, who was attacked by the bodyguards of the AKP’s Tatvan Mayor Mehmet Emin Geylani, stated that the incident he experienced was not an isolated incident, on the contrary, it was a planned attack aimed at killing him. Aygül’s lawyer, İsmet Eker, stated the incident as “There is not only journalism here, but the beating of the truth here”.
Bitlis Journalists Association President Sinan Aygül, who was attacked by the AKP’s Tatvan Mayor Mehmet Emin Geylani’s bodyguards Yücel Baysal and the Police Engin Kaplan, at noon on 17 June, was wounded and taken to the hospital. Geylani, who shared on social media from the moment Aygül was treated at the hospital, stated that he had nothing to do with the incident and Aygül threatened her. On the other hand, many NGOs, professional organizations, trade unions and the people of Bitlis in Bitlis condemned the attack by making a press statement and conveyed the message that they stand by Aygül.
Aygül had been detained many times as a result of the corruption and irregularity news he made about the AKP’s Tatvan Municipality.
Speaking to Serhat News about the incident and what happened after, Aygül, the President of the Bitlis Journalists Association, stated that the attackers were armed and that the violence against him was purely aimed at killing himself. Aygül, whose treatment was completed at the hospital but was hospitalized with complaints of dizziness and nausea during the day, will continue in Van or Diyarbakır after the edema on his face heals.
‘This is not an isolated incident’
Aygül stated that the instigators were behind the attack in the middle of the day and in an area where there are many cameras, and said: “The mayor had bodyguards while he was leaving the polyclinic for dental treatment. Their names are Engin Kaplan and Yücel Baysal, I don’t know either of them. I knew they were just bodyguards. I saw them waiting in the car on the way out, but I didn’t expect them to attack me. Before I took 5-6 steps, they hit me on the head from behind. I fell from a height of about a meter. Then I stumbled and lost myself. After a while, I recovered, and then there was a clash, which was reflected in the images, unfortunately. It was a serious attack, not a simple injury or intimidation. It was a deliberate attempt to kill. Because they had guns and the way they shot or the way they wanted to strangle, the threatening by saying, “You’re going to die, you’re going to die, you’re writing about the mayor, you won’t be able to write anymore,” etc. Someone who did not darken could not afford such a reckless attack. This is not an isolated incident, it is clear that there are instigators.”
‘They will be held accountable before the law’
Stating that he could be killed as a result of the attack, Aygül stated that the attackers and instigators must be held accountable before the law. Aygül said, “It is a tradition in this country to throw the hitmen in front of the public and generally hide those behind the scenes. Impunity is a tradition in a country, but I am not dead, I am alive. Even if this tradition will continue, I will not allow it. Whoever is behind this, the mayor, the rent gangs around him, his relatives or anyone else, whatever authority is involved, of course, this will come out. What I hope is that he will be held accountable before the law, before the law, within the framework of the law. I hope that this will not be covered, and I do not believe that it will be covered. I’m calling out to those who instigated this, I’m not dead and I’m here. Whoever you are, regardless of your diameter, you will give an account for this. All my life I have been in favor of democracy, freedom of press and expression. I’ve always been on the side of sobriety and common sense or peace. However, when I get slapped on my right cheek, I do not turn my left cheek,” he said.
‘Geylani called but l did not meet’
Stating that Geylani called him and that neither he nor his wife answered the phone, Aygül stated that the phone was answered by his relatives and they said to him, “How dare you call, you have already made it”. Aygül stated that, apart from this speech, what Geylani conveyed was completely fictional and did not reflect the truth.
‘Here, not only journalism, but the truth has been beaten’
Lawyer İsmet Eker, one of Aygül’s lawyers, stated that the police acted with common sense from the first moment of the attack, but that the incident was an attempt to kill. Expressing that they are working to carry out a comprehensive investigation on the issue and that many Associations, especially themselves, will follow this issue, Eker said, “There is not only journalism here, but the beating of the truth here. And that’s why it’s the part that hurts us the most. He could have been killed. The state pays one of them because you will protect that president, but not because you will cover his corruption or go and beat the people he doesn’t like,” he said.
Expressing that they would investigate in detail what the motivation source of the police officer, who was trying to drive the citizens away with the gun in his hand, was during the incident, Eker asked the following questions about the subject: “Did these people follow Sinan? Did they know that Sinan was coming to the dentist? Or did they receive outside support, that is, did they follow up technically or physically? These questions need to be clarified.”
Camera footage prevented the attack from being shut down
Pointing out that the camera footage played a major role in preventing this attack from being shut down, Eker said that although his relationship with the AKP Mayor Geylani could be illuminated as a result of the investigation, Geylani’s social media posts were steps to cover up the incident. Eker said: “I wonder what would happen if there was no camera footage, maybe we wouldn’t have seen what the police were doing right now. When the president first shared, he considered the event as a “discussion”. So Sinan attacked them, just like they attacked Sinan. There was a request to close the event but this image revealed it. Yes, we cannot prove whether the president knew about it, but it needs to be investigated. But we can see from his first post that he wanted to close the incident.”