Ankara denies entry to German journalist

Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [Presidency of Turkey]

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.

Germany will prosecute comedian who mocked Turkish president

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday (14 April) that Germany has accepted a request from Turkey to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out a sexually crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on German 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.

Majority of Germans disapprove Merkel’s decision to allow prosecution of comedian

Two thirds of Germans oppose Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow prosecutors to
pursue a case against a German comedian who mocked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a poll published on Sunday (17 April) showed.

The European Union, United States and rights groups have criticised the Turkish government for what they say is its attempt to bridle the press.

Journalists criticise the EU's rapprochement with Turkey

In their effort to stem the refugee crisis, the EU has betrayed Turkish journalists and ordinary citizens, who have courageously stood up to the authoritarian plans of the government, journalistic organisations said yesterday (15 December).

Detained journalists urge EU not to compromise with Turkey over human rights

Two Turkish journalists arrested this week for their coverage of arms trafficking to Islamist rebels in Syria urged the European Union not to compromise on human rights, as it seeks an agreement with Ankara to help stem refugee flows to Europe.


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