Turkey to deport French journalist Depardon

French journalist Mathias Depardon.

French photojournalist Mathias Depardon, who was detained on Monday after photographing the local scenery in Turkey’s southeastern Batman province, is to be deported, DHA reported on Thursday.

According to the report Depardon, who was accused of disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media, was released by a Turkish court. Following the court decision Depardon was taken to the Gaziantep Immigration Authority in the Oğuzeli district of Gaziantep province for deportation.

Lawyers for the French journalist have applied for a reversal of the deportation decision. The Turkey branch of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday called on for the immediate release of Depardon and said the journalist should neither be deported nor held under administrative detention.

Depardon is an İstanbul-based documentary freelance photographer and frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde.

On April 9, Gabriele del Grande, an Italian journalist working for the ANSA news agency, was detained during a security check in the southern province of Hatay. He was released by a Turkish court on April 25.

Del Grande was interviewing Syrian refugees for a book he is writing about the war and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Last November another French journalist, Olivier Bertrand, was detained in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and deported three days later following the diplomatic efforts exerted by Paris.

In the last days of 2016, Wall Street Journal correspondent in İstanbul Don Nissenbaum was held incommunicado for over two days for tweeting about an alleged soldier burning by ISIL.

In January The New York Times reported that Turkey denied entry to one of its veteran reporters, Rod Nordland, at İstanbul Atatürk Airport, with no reason offered by officials as to why he was not allowed to enter the country.

Deniz Yücel, who works for the German Die Welt newspaper and has been kept in pre-trial detention in Turkey since Feb. 27 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of Turkey’a autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, was arrested by a court on Feb. 27.

In April, the Turkish government refused to renew the press accreditation of German Stern magazine reporter Raphael Geiger due to alleged remarks insulting Erdoğan.

Pressure on foreign journalists in Turkey has been mounting in recent years, with the government, pro-government journalists and government trolls on social media directly targeting them.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 237 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 100 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey. Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (turkishminue.com) May 11, 2017

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