Turkish authorities at Istanbul airport denied entry yesterday (20 April) to a German public television journalist who arrived from Cairo and planned to travel to the Turkey-Syria border, the ARD broadcaster said.
ARD journalist Volker Schwenck announced his detention on Twitter and posted a picture of an entry ban letter given to him by authorities with the headline in Turkish and English: “Inadmissible Passenger Notification Report.”
The incident is another test for Germany’s relations with Turkey, which were strained earlier this month by Ankara’s demand that Germany prosecute a comedian who mocked President
Tayyip Erdoğan on television.
Erdoğan demanded that Germany press charges against Jan Boehmermann after he recited a poem about the Turkish leader in a show on another public broadcaster, ZDF, suggesting he beats little girls, watches child pornography and engages in bestiality.
Chancellor Angela Merkel last week agreed to allow prosecutors to pursue the case against Boehmermann under a section of the German criminal code that prohibits insults against foreign leaders but leaves it to the government to decide whether to authorise such cases.
“Last stop Istanbul. Entry to Turkey declined. There is a notification against my name. I am a journalist. A problem?” Schwenck wrote on Twitter.
The German foreign ministry said it was aware that a German citizen had been denied entry into Turkey and that diplomats were in contact with that person, as well as with Turkish authorities.
The German media and public have criticized Merkel’s decision to allow prosecutors to pursue the case against Boehmermann, accusing her of failing to protect free speech.
The European Union, United States and rights groups have criticised the Turkish government for what they say is its attempt to bridle the press.