Turkish boxer Ünsal Arık, known for his critical views of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), announced in a video on Twitter on Monday that he has been attacked by several assailants in Germany.
The winner of the European Boxing Championship, Arık lives in Berlin and had been the target of several attacks and threats from pro-Erdoğan individuals and groups in the past.
“Shame on you!” Arık tweeted, adding a video in which he addressed to his attackers.
“I don’t know if these people — who are only in office temporarily — are worth what you did, but it’s obvious you’ll never rest. The next time I’ll break not only your chins but all your bones,” he said.
Yazıklar olsun 😥 pic.twitter.com/kGIBHSr6Wo
— Ünsal M. Arık (@UensalArik) August 9, 2021
Arık also implied that his attackers called him a traitor, saying: “May God give you whatever you deserve. Shame on you. Which holy book approves calling a sportsperson who represents the Turkish flag a traitor and attacking him? I am really sad.”
In the video Arık repeatedly put his hand to his face, which had slight bruises, and displayed his left hand, which was bleeding, apparently from his efforts to defend himself.
Many Twitter users including prominent Turkish figures such as writer Ahmet Ümit, actor Bülent Emrah Parlak and and opposition politician Barış Atay replied to Arık’s posts, wishing him a speedy recovery.
Back in August 2020, Arık announced he had received a death threat when someone left an envelope containing a single bullet on his windshield.
Arık also received a death threat on the phone barely a week after he found the bullet. As to the perpetrators, Arık indicated on Twitter that although he didn’t suspect any single individual, he was “100 percent certain that they are supporters of Erdoğan” and the ruling AKP.
He also tweeted in September 2020 that his tires were slashed. “Are you this bothered by me breathing, being alive? Don’t you fear God at all?” he asked.
In December 2020, Arık was attacked again, this time with a knife.
According to Arık’s further comments on social media, what prompted the threats and the attacks was his criticism of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) and President Erdoğan in interviews he had given to German media outlets.
The boxer said what he told them was that mosques in Turkey had become places of politics rather than religion, that the AKP government interfered in these places and that the Diyanet wasn’t what it used to be.