Erdogan escalated war on press freedom. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) accused him of increasingly banning entry to foreign journalists, expelling others.
Sputnik News Turkey bureau chief Tural Kerimov is the 10th foreign correspondent banned in the last six months.
A border control officer seized his press card and residence permit, called him persona non grata, and deported him to Russia.
Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) secretary general Nadezda Azhgikhina issued a statement, saying:
“The rights of the journalists in Turkey is an issue which had been concerning international organizations seriously for a long time.”
“The recent incidents, meaning the deportation of the Russian journalist (Kerimov) and the access denial for the Russia(’s) Sputnik News (are) clear violation(s) of international norms.”
Deporting its bureau chief comes a week after its Turkish language web site was shut down for spurious reasons – censorship by any standard.
On April 19, Cairo correspondent for Germany’s ARD television, Volker Schwenk was banned from entry into Turkey at its border.
Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union in ver.di managing director Cornelia Hass called the way Turkey treats media workers “totally unacceptable.” She demanded free access to the country for journalists seeking it to do their jobs, and no hostile actions taken against others already there.
On Saturday, Greek journalist Giorgos Moutafis was denied entry after landing in Istanbul and sent back to Athens.
“I was told at the passport control that my name was on a blacklist and that I’m not allowed to enter Turkey,” he said. “Then my passport was taken from me until the early morning.”
“I had to spend the night in a room in the airport. The reasons why I’m on this list were not explained to me.”
He’s a distinguished international journalist and filmmaker, recipient of the 2014 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Award.
He’s currently working on the refugee crisis, Turkey bribed by Brussels to warehouse huge numbers EU officials want kept out of their countries. He also reported on Erdogan’s war on Turkish Kurds – key reasons why he was targeted.
On Monday, US journalist David Lepeska was deported back home without explanation. On Saturday, Dutch journalist Ebru Umar was detained, her laptop seized for tweets criticizing Erdogan.
Released last Sunday, she tweeted “(f)ree but under country arrest” – required to report regularly to authorities, prevented from moving freely to do her job.
Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country. Anyone criticizing Erdogan or exposing regime wrongdoing faces charges ranging from insulting the president to terrorism, espionage and/or treason.
US and other Western officials ignore his high crimes, business as usual continuing with him normally.