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Turkey becoming minefield for foreign journalists

Three foreign reporters in Turkey have seen their accreditations terminated, while the renewal applications of 50 others remain unanswered since December, fueling concern that Ankara is seeking to drive the foreign media out.
German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel walks through a plane as he is flanked by a group of people at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir - UP1EE2G1ER906
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Turkey is increasingly becoming a blacked-out country in terms of news reporting. With scores of media outlets shut down since 2016, Turkey’s mainstream media has come fully under government control, and now things are getting tougher for the foreign press as well. Government officials had targeted foreign journalists directly or used various methods to pressure them in the past, but Ankara’s refusal to renew accreditations is making their work in Turkey altogether impossible.

The problem, which has been going on for several months, came to the fore Feb. 28 at a high-level economic meeting between European Union and Turkish officials in Istanbul. A number of journalists, including reporters for prominent German media such as Suddeutsche Zeitung, ZDF, Tagesspiegel and ARD, were barred from the event, which led EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen to publicly chide the restrictions. Katainen said he deeply “regretted” the barring of the journalists, adding that the EU was working with Turkish authorities to make sure “freedom of the press is respected.”

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