German media union warns journalists not to travel to Turkey

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The German Federation of Journalists (DJV) union has advised media professionals against professional and private travel to Turkey, following the temporary arrest of a German lawmaker earlier this month, reported dpa.

Gökay Akbulut's arrest when she entered Turkey at the beginning of August shows "once again that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan's autocracy regards its critics as militant enemies of the state and persecutes them when it has the opportunity to do so," said Frank Überall, the DJV's national chairman, according to a statement on Monday.

If parliamentary immunity does not protect against arrest, the danger for journalists is all the greater, he added.

Akbulut, a lawmaker from Germany's Left Party, was briefly detained in Turkey on August 3. An arrest warrant, which was later cancelled by the Turkish authorities, had been issued for "alleged terrorist propaganda," Akbulut told the newspaper Mannheimer Morgen.

The Turkish-born politician, who, by her own account, is of Kurdish-Alevi descent, has been a member of the Bundestag since 2017.

She has repeatedly been critical of the Turkish government and is campaigning for a lifting of the German ban on the activities of the Kurdish Workers' Party PKK. The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey and in the European Union.

Following her arrest, the German embassy in Ankara and the German Foreign Office had intervened and thus brought about her release.

Überall went on to say: "Anyone who, as a journalist, has ever made critical comments about Turkey, its president or the ruling AKP party in their own articles and on social networks should stay away from the country."

Anything else is an incalculable risk, he said.

  •  German
  •  journalists
  •  Turkey


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