Turkish-German humor writer Taş deported from Turkey for looking ‘suspicious’

Bülent Taş, a Turkish-German humor writer and theater director, was deported from Turkey after he was kept in police custody for two days on the grounds that he looked “suspicious,” according to a report by online news outlet Artı Gerçek on Friday.

Taşkın, who travelled to İzmir for a vacation with his family, was kept in detention at Adnan Menderes Airport for two days until he was deported from Turkey on Friday. He is of Turkish origin but has a German passport.

In remarks to artigercek, Taş said police officers took him to a room at the airport and asked him whether he had social media accounts, despite the fact that they already had information on him in a document in front of them.

Taş said the police officers referred to one of his social media posts in which he wrote “recepziyon” instead of the Turkish word “resepsiyon,” which means reception in English, and asked why he made a play on words.

With “recepziyon,” Taş was apparently referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Taş also said the police officers asked him why he was unhappy with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and why he was only shooting short films.

“I told them to give me money so that I could shoot full length films and asked why I should be happy about the Erdoğan government.”

The writer said the police officers asked him further questions about his social media accounts and insistently tried to associate him with a terrorist organization.

“The police officer who questioned me looked as if he was going to torture me at any moment. One of them even said I would be arrested,” Taş said, adding that if he had been a Turkish citizen, he would have been arrested.

The arrest of Turkish nationals as well as foreigners over their social media posts is common in Turkey, where the government is receiving widespread criticism for silencing dissent and curbing freedom of speech.

Two British citizens were detained by Turkish police at Dalaman Airport in the tourist resort of Muğla on Thursday due to their social media posts and were subsequently arrested on terror charges.

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.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 243 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 27, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 184 were under arrest pending trial while only 59 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 143 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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