Comment by the Information and Press Department on the detainment and deportation of Rossiya 1 journalists from Turkey
On December 7, television journalists of the Rossiya 1 Special Correspondent show were detained in Hatay, a province in south-eastern Turkey bordering Syria, while on their way to the neighbouring Gaziantep Province. The journalists were detained by unidentified people in mufti, who refused to name themselves or show their ID cards at the journalists’ request. The Russian TV crew was taken to a police station and told that they would be deported from Turkey for “violating the rules of conduct of foreign journalists in the Republic of Turkey.” The Turkish authorities refused to provide explanations to the representatives of the Russian Embassy in Turkey, who contacted the TV crew after their detainment.
We strongly condemn these illegitimate actions committed by the Turkish authorities. This treatment of media representatives is absolutely unacceptable. Exactly which “rules” have the Russian journalists violated? It looks as if Ankara feared that the Rossiya 1 journalists would uncover facts about illegal activities on the Turkish-Syrian border, which could be embarrassing to the Turkish government.
This incident is indicative in the light of a series of infringements of the rights of local and foreign journalists in Turkey. International organisations, including the OSCE, have more than once drawn the attention of the international community to these facts. A case in point is the arrest in late November of Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, and the paper’s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul over their article on the Turkish security services’ involvement in arms supplies to militants in Syria. These journalists have been charged with “espionage, divulging state secrets and terrorism.” If found guilty, they can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
December 8, 2015