While pressure of the government over free and critical media remains as one of the most prevailing problems in Turkey, AKP government’s approach is not impacting only Turkish journalists, but rather interfering with the accreditation process of the foreign media members, reported by Birgün daily.
According to a report by Can Uğur from Birgün daily, the correspondents and representatives of foreign news outlets have been facing serious obstacles. Several foreign journalists have been treated arbitrarily by Turkey’s officials based on the journalists’ reporting contents in recent months.
Procedures that had been practiced for many years are now being delayed and the accreditation is being turned into a ‘issue of threat’ for the foreign journalists. When journalists ask officials about the stage of the process for accreditation, they are told by Turkey’s officials that the ‘journalists’ works are being examined.’
Especially the journalists whose reporting includes statements and news pieces critical of AKP government have been facing this problem. As this causes these journalists to go through both economic and socio-cultural issues, it also forces them to consider self-censoring.
It’s reported that foreign media organizations whose members have been facing with this problem in Turkey are going to send a letter to their countries’ embassies in Ankara demanding them to address the issue.
Additionally, the issue is expected to be brought up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her upcoming visit to Turkey, as the problem with regards to accreditation of representatives from German news sources such as Stern, Ard, Deutschlandradio, Frankfurter Rundschau and Die Zeit has still not been solved.
In 2016, a number of journalists had to leave the country due to threats and problems… The case of Der Spiegel reporter Hasnain Kazım, who had to leave Turkey last year, was just one of the most widely heard case… Deniz Yücel from another German newspaper Die Welt also left Turkey last year after having been targeted by the pro-government media for his questions to then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. It is also known that he then had difficulty in getting accredited…
Commenting on the issue to BirGün, head of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey Gökhan Durmuş stated that ‘the accreditation process which has been used by officials as a political tool cannot be tolerated’ and sent solidarity message to foreign media members having these kinds of problems in Turkey.
A detailed report issued by new advocacy group the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) last week said that 191 journalists are in jail, 92 are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey.
SCF has documented the individual cases of 191 journalists who are either convicted and serving time in prison or jailed in pre-trial detention. According to the Swedish-based center, most of the journalists have not even seen an indictment against them. The report stated that 92 journalists are wanted for arrest but remain at large either in Turkey or abroad.
In a press release on Jan. 26, 2017, the center said that almost 300 journalists in Turkey, a member state of the Council of Europe and a candidate country for European Union membership, are languishing behind bars or facing outstanding arrest warrants.