Turkish journalist Aysenur Arslan arrested following bombing remarks
Turkish journalist Aysenur Arslan, who found herself at the center of a firestorm after her comments regarding the recent suicide bombing in Ankara, has been taken into police custody at her residence in Istanbul. Her lawyer said she was arrested on charges of “promoting terrorism.”
Arslan, before her arrest, staunchly defended her remarks, stating, "I am a journalist, and what I did was question the situation," emphasizing that she had never intended to glorify terrorism. She continued, "I scrutinized the process, and if you watch the entire program, you'll see that my words condemn terrorism clearly. It's there; watch it."
The controversy stemmed from Arslan's appearance on Halk TV's "Medya Mahallesi" program, during which she made remarks regarding Sunday’s suicide bombing in Ankara, where two assailants who attempted a bomb attack on the National Headquarters of the Police Ankara were killed:
"The person who is claimed to have detonated themselves may not have known that there was an explosive device on them or in the car remotely controlled. It's so senseless to come and die without doing anything. In my opinion, they acted against everything and decided to blow themselves up for no apparent reason.”
She added: “It is so easy to start a car… Why kill someone in Kayseri and say, 'I'm coming with bombs on my back, a gun on my waist'? What is this?"
In response to her comments, Cafer Mahiroğlu, the owner of Halk TV where Arslan worked, announced the termination of her program. Mahiroğlu stated on social media, "The unfortunate words spoken live on the Media Neighborhood program broadcast yesterday, although terrorism was condemned in the same program, exceed the boundaries and perspective of Halk TV. Therefore, we announce with regret that we have decided to terminate the program."
Arslan's lawyer, Celal Ülgen, spoke to Cumhuriyet newspaper, confirming the reason for her arrest: "She was detained on charges of 'promoting terrorism' due to the sentences she used during yesterday's program."
In the midst of the controversy, Arslan also voiced her concerns about the state of freedom of expression in Turkey, saying, "Turkey has completely sunk into silence. They want even those who speak to be silent. That's what they want."