Sunday, March 20, 2016

Forced Departure of SPIEGEL's Correspondent - latest on a long list of attacks by the government on Turkish and foreign journalists working in Turkey

Spiegel's correspondent Hasnain Kazim
There is an unprecedented escalation in the level of government repression on Turkish media for the last several weeks: the main opposition newspapers have seen their editor-in-chief arrested (CUMHURİYET) or have been seized and brought under direct government control (ZAMAN) or have their press cards cancelled for all their journalist staff (ÖZGÜR GÜNDEM) while the few indepedent TV channels are being forced into submission through cancellation of their critical talk shows (CNNTURK) or cancellation of their satellite broadcasting concessions (IMC TV) or outright seizure of their studios and companies (BUGÜN TV).

Latest in these series of attacks by Turkish government on press freedom is the de facto cancellation of working and residence permits of foreign journalists. In his DER SPIEGEL piece "A Painful Farewell" Hasnain Kazim wrote about the dramatic turn to authoritarian rule in Turkey during his residency and described the circumstances how he has been forced out of the country. In a postscript to the article, SPIEGEL ONLINE editor-in-chief Florian Harms noted: "Based on the behavior of the Turkish government, we can draw no other conclusion than that his journalistic reporting is no longer desired in the country. This behavior toward our correspondent and, thus, also toward SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL ONLINE is, in our opinion, intolerable and also infringes on the freedom of the press. We have decided to withdraw Hasnain Kazim from Istanbul. He will now be based in Vienna. DER SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL ONLINE will obviously continue to report critically, but also fairly on events in Turkey."

Aftenposten's correspondent Silje Rønning Kampesæter

Last month, Middle East Correspondent of AFTENPOSTEN Silje Rønning Kampesæter was declared in effect unwanted and her press accreditation rejected by the government in a move that the Norweigan newspaper described as "being thrown out of Turkey" - a first since the long-established paper's journalist was declared non-grata in 1971 in the Soviet Union.

In September 2015, Dutch independent journalist Frederike Geerdink was first detained for three days then expelled from Turkey after she lived in and reported from Istanbul and Diyarbakir since 2006.