Turkey denies accreditation to foreign journalists ahead of March elections

EPA-EFE//SEDAT SUNA

Protestors gather in front of the Istanbul Courthouse to support journalists of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet after the court had upheld sentences against them, in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 February 2019.

Turkey denies accreditation to foreign journalists ahead of March elections


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As the world’s worst jailer of journalists and with only weeks to go before local elections, the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan have refused to accredit 50 foreign correspondents who planned to cover the vote.

Correspondents working for years for Suddeutsche Zeitung, ZDF, Tagesspiegel and ARD have not been issued with press passes.

“Every country’s press freedom functions according to its own rules; some may try to renew them next year, some may not,” Turkey’s Finance Minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, told the press in Brussels on 28 February.

The fact that the controversy arises ahead of municipal elections on March 31, in which

The ruling Islamist AK Party expects to lose ground in the upcoming municipal elections on 31 March, and their decision to bar so so many foreign journalists raises new concerns about Erdogan’s ongoing campaign to destroy the independence of the media in Turkey.

The German-language edition of the pro-government Daily Sabah argued on 5 March, without providing evidence,  that the journalists are linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s arch-nemesis.

Since a failed coup in 2016, the Turkish government has shut down 31 TV channels, 34 radio stations, five news agencies, 62 newspapers,19 magazines, and purged hundreds of thousands of civil servants

Germany has issued a warning to its citizens that they risk arrest for expressing opinions while in Turkey.

 

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