Pro-gov’t think tank profiles foreign media workers in Turkey

Turkey’s Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), a pro- government think tank, on Saturday published a 200-page report on journalists who work for the Turkish services of foreign media outlets, profiling them based on their political leanings as revealed on Twitter.

Some of the journalists rebuffed the report on Twitter, saying it was an attempt at blackmail in a broader smear campaign targeting the media employees.

The report profiled journalists working for foreign media outlets such as BBC, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, Sputnik and Voice of America.

The Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) announced on Twitter that it would file a criminal complaint against SETA on Monday, a move that garnered support from other journalists and media associations.

The report evaluated the journalists from their tweets on significant developments in recent Turkish history, including a 2016 failed coup attempt, the imprisonment of Kurdish party deputies and the opening of a new İstanbul airport.

According to the International Media Institute (IPI), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan controls over 90 percent of the Turkish media.

A recent report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “The Clampdown on Foreign Journalists in Turkey” explains in detail how reporters from other countries face serious obstacles in Turkey that at times suggest a deliberate, systematic and calibrated policy by the government is, in fact, being implemented.

SCF has also compiled 38 cases in which foreign journalists in Turkey have faced detention, jailing, denial of residence permit extensions, cancelation of accreditation, deportation, prohibition on entering Turkey, discrediting or finger-pointing in a list in a searchable database format.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom. (SCF with

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