A mob of up to 30 assailants has attacked the offices of Yeniçağ Gazetesi (New Era) newspaper in Istanbul’s Yenibosna borough. The attackers, some of whom were masked, reportedly used weapons and improvised projectiles to enter the building at 8:00PM local time, causing damage to the premises and parked vehicles outside.
Yenicag, which has a fiercely nationalist Kemalist editorial line, is published under the slogan “Turkey Belongs to the Turks” in reference to the words of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atuturk.
Analysts speaking to D8 News explain that nationalist groups pushing for cooperation between Turkey’s ruling AKP and nationalist MHP political parties are likely to be behind the attack.
Such groups have singled out Yenicag for its lack of support for the MHP’s shift from vocal critic to foremost backer of AKP policies, particularly an AKP/MHP-led initiative to terminate Turkey’s parliamentary system in favour of an executive presidency with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in charge, expected to go to referendum mid-2017.
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Former MHP leadership candidate Meral Aksener, who has spoken out against party leader Devlet Bahceli’s alliance with former rival President Erdogan, was among the first to denounce the attack; in a public statement she expressed her solidarity with the journalists and called for the assailants to be identified and brought to justice.