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Turkey needs to respect foreign media outlets' independence

Istanbul bureau chief for ZDF Jörg Brase (R) and
Istanbul bureau chief for ZDF Jörg Brase (R) and "Tagespiegel" correspondent Thomas Seibert pose with the Bosphorus Strait in the background after a press conference at ZDF's Istanbul headquarters, 10 March 2019

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on europeanjournalists.org on 12 March 2019.

Two German journalists were compelled to leave Turkey on Sunday, 10 March 2019, after their press accreditations were not renewed for 2019 without any explanation. Jörg Brase, a journalist working for Germany's ZDF public broadcaster, and Thomas Seibert, reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, were long-term correspondents in the country. The Turkish embassy in Germany apparently tried in vain to make a deal to have the correspondents replaced, Tagesspiegel's editor-in-chief reports. A third journalist, Halil Gülbeyaz, with NDR TV, also had his accreditation refused and is not allowed to return to Turkey.

Besides the recent and on-going intimidation, detention, and prosecution of local journalists, pressure against foreign media outlets has been growing in Turkey. These incidents are not isolated cases, but show a systematic approach to also silence and control foreign independent media coverage in the country. Several international journalists have faced intimidation or been forced to leave the country already over the past year after they fell out of favour with Turkey's government. Others are still waiting for the renewal of their accreditations and might have to leave the country as well. Press cards are necessary work permits to receive a residence permit.

The latest incident yet again marks a strong and arbitrary affront against international press freedom and independent media outlets. It is especially worrying in the run-up to local elections at the end of March.

The undersigned organisations call on the EU institutions for a meaningful response. Moreover, we urge Turkey's authorities to revoke the decisions, to stop the expulsion of international journalists, to renew press cards to foreign media outlets, and to respect their independence.

Signed

ARTICLE 19
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) - INTERIM MEMBER
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
International Press Institute (IPI)
Norwegian PEN
P24 Platform for Independent Journalism
PEN America
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Articolo21
Association of European Journalists (AEJ)
Danish PEN
German PEN
Swedish PEN
Global Editors Network (GEN)
Italian Press Federation
OBC Transeuropa

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