The Right Honourable Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister of Turkey
23 December 2009
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our grave concern at the murder of newspaper editor Cihan Hayirsevener.
According to reports, Mr Hayirsevener, chief editor of GŁney Marmara'da Yasam, was shot three times in the leg while leaving his office in Bandirma, Balikesir province, on 18 December. He was taken to hospital but died later the same day from massive blood loss. Mr Hayirsevener had reportedly recently received death threats after covering a local corruption scandal involving the three owners of another major newspaper in Bandirma, İlkhaber, who were found guilty of accepting cash payouts from a former mayor.
We respectfully remind you that it is the duty of the state to provide an environment in which journalists are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of intimidation. Such incidents foster a climate of fear that inhibits investigation and can promote self-censorship.
We respectfully call on you to ensure that those responsible for murdering Mr Hayirsevener are quickly identified and brought to justice.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
World Editors Forum