As violent protests triggered by the murder of an unarmed African American man, George Floyd, by a white police officer on May 25 continue across the United States, American and foreign journalists are being targeted by police. Members of Turkey’s state-run TRTWorld news channel were among them. Sally Ayhan, the Washington correspondent of the outlet, was struck by rubber bullets while covering events there. Fellow correspondent Lionel Donovan was similarly injured in his groin while reporting on demonstrations in Minneapolis where Floyd was slain.
The news prompted an angry response from one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top aides. Fahrettin Altun, head of Erdogan’s communications team, aired his ire via Twitter, saying he condemned the attack against Donovan “in the strongest possible terms.” Altun added that “press freedom is the backbone of democracy. I will raise this issue with the relevant US officials without delay.”