Government pressure on Turkish journalists is nothing new. But now the country’s beleaguered press corps is faced with an altogether new threat: the Turkish mafia. Six journalists and the owner of Karar, a mildly oppositionist newspaper, were placed under police protection after a notorious organized crime boss, Alaattin Cakici, called on his men to “punish them,” which in mafia speak is code for murder.
Cakici, who is in prison serving a 19-year sentence for ordering the 1995 execution of his ex-wife, made the call on Twitter. Cakici wrote, “Wherever they are spotted they will be definitely punished. … This is my appeal to those who love me.” Prosecutors have opened an investigation, but an undeterred Cakici took his campaign to another level today, claiming that “certain” Karar writers were acting in cahoots with the “liberal” and “pro-NATO” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.