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Hurriyet editor to sue AKP MP accused of attacking Turkish newspaper offices

AKP MP Abdurrahim Boynukalin said that Hurriyet had regrettably 'never got a beating before'
Broken windows of the headquarters of the Hurriyet newspaper (AFP)

The editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Hurriyet is suing an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over his alleged involvement in an attack on the newspaper’s offices last week.

AKP MP Abdurrahim Boynukalin was filmed as part of a crowd attacking the office of the newspaper - which is often critical of the AKP government - on 6 September saying that it was a pity that Hurriyet had “never got a beating before”.

He is also seen threatening to go the house of Hurriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan.

“I was going to go there and just wait for him. I was going to pull him over,” he is heard saying to the crowd.

He also adds that he is determined to make Recep Tayyip Erdogan president of Turkey again, “whatever the outcome of the November 1 election”.

Around 200 people arrived at the Hürriyet offices, which also hosts dailies Radikal and the Hürriyet Daily News and Doğan News Agency, reportedly armed with stones and stick.

The attack took place against a wider wave of violence across Turkey mainly aimed at Kurdish business and institutions of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP).

Later, speaking to Anadolu Agency, Boynukalin said he expressed no regrets over staging demonstrations.

“As AKP party youth branches, we will continue to stage protests in front of media organisations with our members,” he said.

“They’d better get used to it.”

Shortly after the AA interview, the Hurriyet offices were attacked a second time.

Hurriyet described the attack as “one of the most embarrassing incidents in the history of its press”.

Boynukalin later claimed he had been attempting to “soothe” the crowd in front of Hurriyet and had not provoked the attacks.

Shortly after the incident, he was elected to the bureau tasked with overseeing the AKP congress.

Editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin previously told CNN Turk that he would take action against Boynukalin.

“We will take the issue to court,” he said.

“We won’t abandon independent journalism due to such attacks. We will continue to do independent journalism. All of these are just temporary issues.”

Boynukalin has previously provoked controversy after posting a tweet in which he appeared to praise Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.