BEIRUT

Middle East

German reporter leaves Turkey after death threats over mine story

Women mourn at graves for miners who died in Tuesday's mine disaster, at a cemetery in Soma, a district in Turkey's western province of Manisa May 20, 2014. REUTERS/ Osman Orsal

ANKARA: A correspondent for Germany's Der Spiegel magazine has been forced to temporarily leave Turkey after he received thousands of death threats over his article on the country's worst mining disaster.

"I was not withdrawn" by the magazine, Hasnain Kazim, the Istanbul-based correspondent, told AFP in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

"I am just spending a few days somewhere else to be on the safe side. In a few days I will be back in Istanbul and continue to do my work," he said.

In his article, Kazim quoted a miner from the western town of Soma saying, "Go to hell, Erdogan," in a show of anger at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's response to the mining disaster that claimed 301 lives.

Kazim said he has received over 10,000 threats via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, adding that a few hundreds of them were death threats.

"Get out of my country you filthy pig," one Twitter user wrote.

Kazim said he did not express his or Der Spiegel's views in the article but just quoted a miner.

"I reported from Soma and quoted one surviving worker with the words: 'I would not have said this earlier, but now I want to tell Erdogan: Go to hell!'", he said.

"AKP trolls did not see or did not want to see that this was a quote but considered me and Der Spiegel to have said that," he added, referring to Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"Unfortunately, several papers and TV channels spread that, too - some close to the government to show Germany's 'evil' character, some critical of the government to misuse me as their spokesperson."

The pro-government Yeni Safak claimed that both the reporter and Der Spiegel were Germany's tool to threaten Turkey's national security.

The mine tragedy -- one of the worsts in modern history -- has caused a wave of fury against the AKP government ahead of August presidential elections in which the embattled Erdogan had been tipped to win.

Photographs of Erdogan aide Yusuf Yerkel kicking a protester who was held down have sparked outrage, as well as images of police firing tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters in several cities and in Soma -- reviving memories of the government's heavy-handed crackdown against nationwide protests in 2013.

The disaster has added to the political pressure on Erdogan, whose Islamic-rooted party emerged triumphant from March 30 local elections despite a corruption scandal implicating key allies and last year's mass protests.

Amid mounting anger over what some said was his "heartless" response to the crisis, Erdogan also faced condemnation and calls to cancel his visit on Saturday from across the political spectrum in Germany.

Erdogan is due to address supporters in Germany -- where three million Turks or people of Turkish origin live -- with a visit to the western city of Cologne.

A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, Wolfgang Bosbach, who is chairman of the Bundestag's interior affairs committee, said the Cologne event should be called off.

For the first time, some 2.6 million Turks living abroad -- including 1.5 million in Germany alone -- will be able to cast their votes in the August presidential vote in which Erdogan is expected to stand.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

A correspondent for Germany's Der Spiegel magazine has been forced to temporarily leave Turkey after he received thousands of death threats over his article on the country's worst mining disaster.

Kazim said he has received over 10,000 threats via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, adding that a few hundreds of them were death threats.

Erdogan is due to address supporters in Germany -- where three million Turks or people of Turkish origin live -- with a visit to the western city of Cologne.

For the first time, some 2.6 million Turks living abroad -- including 1.5 million in Germany alone -- will be able to cast their votes in the August presidential vote in which Erdogan is expected to stand.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here