The Turkish dissident journalist Erk Acarer in Berlin was attacked and injured on Wednesday 7 July evening by three men in the courtyard of the apartment building where he lives and had to be treated in hospital. The journalist said on Twitter that he knew the attackers and that they had told him not to write any more. Acarer told the police that he suspected his work as a journalist was the motive for the attack. Acarer came to Germany in 2017 with the assistance of an RSF emergency aid grant. He has been living in Berlin ever since.
"We don't yet know the background to the attack, but the fact that a journalist from Turkey who is critical of its government has been assaulted in Berlin is worrying and could intimidate other exiled journalists in the country. The authorities must investigate the suspicion that the attack is related to his journalistic work. Journalists in exile have fled repression in their home countries. They must be able to feel safe here", RSF Germany's Executive Director Christian Mihr said:
According to the Berlin police, the investigation is ongoing and has been taken over by the State Criminal Police Office in Berlin. Acarer worked for various Turkish newspapers and magazines in Turkey, including Cumhuriyet, Sabah, Habertürk and Milliyet. He continues to work for the left-wing opposition daily Birgün. He was repeatedly threatened in Turkey because of his critical reporting. In Berlin, he first worked for the online news site taz.gazete and now works for broadcaster Artı Gerçek, which was founded by exiled journalists from Turkey.
For some years now, Reporters Without Borders has observed that journalists who have fled their home country for fear of state repression and persecution and come to Germany are facing threats and intimidation attempts here, too. Among others, journalists from Turkey and Vietnam are affected. In July 2020, it was revealed that an Egyptian spy had been working undercover for President Al-Sisi in Germany's Federal Press Office and had access to information about Egyptian journalists in exile. He was convicted by a Berlin court in March 2021 and given a suspended sentence.
Turkey is ranked 153rd out of 180 states in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.