Two German journalists are unable to work in Turkey after the government denied them official accreditation. An editor at Germany's ZDF public broadcaster called the move "incomprehensible."
Turkey has told Jörg Brase, a bureau chief for Germany's ZDF public broadcaster, and Thomas Seibert, a reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, that it would not grant their press card renewal requests for 2019. The government gave no reason for the refusal.
The Turkish decision means neither reporter can continue to work in Turkey. The 57-year-old Brase has headed ZDF's Istanbul bureau since January 2018. The 55-year-old Seibert has been accredited continuously in Turkey for the last 22 years.
Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Turkey's refusal to renew Brase and Seibert's press cards was an unacceptable "de-facto sacking." The group's director, Christian Mihr, demanded that Turkey issue press cards for the two men immediately.
ZDF Deputy Editor-in-Chief Bettina Schausten called the decision "not only regrettable, but completely incomprehensible." She added that "ZDF will object to this and can only hope that the Turkish authorities reconsider their decision."
Necessary for all journalists in Turkey
Press cards issued by Turkey expire each December and journalists need to reapply for accreditation. Some German reporters have received their cards but others are still waiting. The cards are considered work permits and are also necessary for getting a residence permit.
The Turkish media has been restrained for some time and pressure on the foreign media has been growing.
On Thursday, several foreign correspondents were denied access to a press conference with the Turkish finance minister.
Following the failed coup attempt in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration closed several media companies as part of a wider crackdown on Turkey's independent media.
Reporters Without Borders places Turkey 157th on its list of 180 countries ranked for press freedom.
jm/amp (dpa, AFP)