Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
10:58 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Turkey expels critical foreign journalist: newspaper
Agence France Presse
Riot police stand guard on July 24, 2013 outside the headquarters of Anadolu news agency in Ankara, as a group of journalists and members of the Republican People's Party protest against censorship in Turkish media on Journalism Day. (AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN)
Riot police stand guard on July 24, 2013 outside the headquarters of Anadolu news agency in Ankara, as a group of journalists and members of the Republican People's Party protest against censorship in Turkish media on Journalism Day. (AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN)
A+ A-

ISTANBUL: Turkey expelled an Azeri journalist Friday for tweets criticizing the government, his newspaper said, stoking concerns about media freedom a day after new Internet curbs provoked a storm of protest.

Mahir Zeynalov's deportation was yet to be officially confirmed, but a photo on Twitter appeared to show police escorting him through an airport on his way back to Azerbaijan.

It followed in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government rushing new Internet restrictions through parliament that critics including the EU and Washington worry will limit free expression.

Activists called for a demonstration in central Istanbul on Saturday evening against the new restrictions, which still have to be approved by President Abdullah Gul, an ally of Erdogan.

Zeynalov works for the Zaman daily, a paper close to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher living in the United States whom Erdogan has blamed for orchestrating a recent corruption probe against members of his inner circle.

The newspaper said that Zeynalov was put on a list of foreign individuals barred from entering Turkey for "posting tweets against high-level state officials".

Zeynalov is already the target of a criminal complaint filed by Erdogan himself for tweets in December about the graft probe, with the prime minister saying he posted "heavy insults and swear words in a bid to provoke the nation to hatred and animosity," Zaman reported.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Friday that Zeynalov's ejection "is a further setback for the dire state of media freedom in Turkey."

US-based rights group Freedom House said in a report this week that over "the past year dozens of journalists have been fired because of government pressure, and government officials' threats against journalists have become common."

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) says that the aspiring EU member state jails more reporters than any other country including serial offenders Iran, China and Eritrea -- most linked to Kurdish organisations.

"The decision to deport this journalist is harsh and will affect the reputation of Turkey, already notorious for restrictions of press freedom," Nina Ognianova of the CPJ told Zaman on Friday.

The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said: "Expelling a journalist for a tweet is unacceptable ... It shows the power of journalists and the weakness of politicians."

Erdogan has responded to the corruption probe, which has implicated members of his inner circle and their families, by sacking or reassigning thousands of police and prosecutors thought to be close to Gulen.

Critics say that the new Internet curbs, which will enable the blocking of webpages without a court order, is an attempt by Erdogan to silence reporting on the scandal, lurid details of which have been leaked online.

Human Rights Watch said the timing "raises concerns that a defensive government is seeking to increase its power to silence critics and to arbitrarily limit politically damaging material online."

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz called the curbs a "step back in an already suffocating environment for media freedom", while the US State Department said there were concerns that "these proposed measures are not compatible with international standards on freedom of expression".

Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) is "conducting an unprecedented campaign of cleaning up the state apparatus, and journalists can't escape," Erol Onderoglu from Reporters Without Borders told AFP.

Erdogan, in power since 2003 and facing important local elections on March 30, is also seeking to push through legislation that critics say will impinge on the independence of the judiciary.

The political instability, on the back of a heavy-handed response to protests last June in which six people died, is taking its toll on Turkey's economy, with the lira sliding to record lows in recent months.

Capital Economics said in a research note Friday that Turkey "is at serious risk of slipping into a recession".

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Turkey
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
Turkey expelled an Azeri journalist Friday for tweets criticizing the government, his newspaper said, stoking concerns about media freedom a day after new Internet curbs provoked a storm of protest.

It followed in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government rushing new Internet restrictions through parliament that critics including the EU and Washington worry will limit free expression.

Zeynalov works for the Zaman daily, a paper close to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher living in the United States whom Erdogan has blamed for orchestrating a recent corruption probe against members of his inner circle.

Erdogan, in power since 2003 and facing important local elections on March 30, is also seeking to push through legislation that critics say will impinge on the independence of the judiciary.
Related Articles
 
 
Turkish security breach exposes Erdogan in power struggle
 
 
Turkey seeks wider spy agency powers
 
 
Turkey PM appeals to top court over Internet 'privacy breach'
Erdogan has used antagonism to stay in power
 
 
Twitter executives head to Turkey for gov't meeting
Show More
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS