Turkish journalist Muharrem Sarıkaya has resigned as Ciner Media Group’s Ankara representative after footage of him slapping a cameraman during an interview sparked outrage on social media.
During Habertürk TV’s live broadcast on Sunday, Sarıkaya, who was conducting an interview with Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Fatma Şahin, slapped Ihlas News Agency (IHA) cameraman Ahmet Demir after he to be angry because of a check-in problem.
Although the incident happened during a live interview, it did not affect the broadcast. After the footage spread on social media, Habertürk released a statement, saying Sarıkaya’s attitude was unacceptable. The TV channel also apologized to Demir.
Demir told the media that Sarıkaya also apologized for the incident, but he refused to accept the apology and will press charges against Sarıkaya. Journalists’ unions also condemned the incident.
The IHA also received its fair share of criticism for not releasing the footage until two days after the incident.
Several journalists have also taken to social media accusing Sarıkaya of aggressive or abusive behavior in the past. A former correspondent working in Habertürk’s Ankara office accused Sarıkaya of physical assault while pregnant, in addition to constant mobbing in the office.
Another correspondent responded to Sarıkaya’s apology on Twitter that the veteran journalist pushed him during a press conference in Ankara and pulled his microphone when it blocked his view.
Şamil Tayyar, a journalist turned politician from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), also accused Sarıkaya of insulting him while working together in the early 2000s.