Turkey: foreign press correspondents increasingly banned

The International and European Federations of Journalists have today condemned the entry ban imposed by Turkish authorities against Russian journalist Tural Kerimov, the Turkey bureau chief for Sputnik news agency, who is the 10th foreign press correspondent banned from Turkey in the last 6 months.

Kerimov was stopped by a border control officer who said the journalist was a persona non grata for the Turkish authorities, who seized his press card and his residence permit before sending him back to Russia.

Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), an IFJ and EFJ affiliate, has immediately condemned Kerimov being deported from Turkey. RUJ Secretary General, Nadezda Azhgikhina, said: “The rights of the journalists in Turkey is an issue which had been concerning international organizations seriously for a long time. The recent incidents, meaning the deportation of the Russian journalist [Kerimov] and the access denial for the Russian news site [Sputnik Turkey], is a clear violation of international norms.”

The entry ban against Sputnik’s Turkey bureau chief comes a week after Turkish Telecommunications Authority (TIB) shut down Sputnik agency’s Turkish-language website citing “administrative measures”.

On 19 April, Turkish border officials applied a similar entry ban to the German journalist Volker Schwenk, the Cairo correspondent of Germany’s ARD TV. The DJV (Deutscher Journalisten-Verband) and Dju in ver.di (Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union in ver.di), IFJ and EFJ affiliates in Germany, called on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Mr Schwenck and let him freely conduct his work. “The actions of the authorities against Volker Schwenck is pure harassment and is completely unjustifiable”, said DVJ President Frank Überall. “The way the Turkish administration prohibits the work of the press is totally unacceptable. The ARD-correspondent must freely exercise and can get unhindered access to his destination without delay”, added Cornelia Hass, Managing Director of Dju in ver.di.

Both Federations are extremely worried about the ongoing negative trends in Turkey targeting foreign press correspondents. During the last six months, they have recorded at least 10 cases of grave violations against foreign press correspondents in Turkey or willing to enter the country to report about the situation. The free access to information in Turkey is seriously blocked which is unacceptable for a country candidate to the EU.

The new cases of violations will be reported to Council of Europe’s platform for the protection and safety of journalists and to the Mapping Media Freedom project, supported by the European Commission.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

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