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Index on Censorship Slams Ankara's Entry Ban to Sputnik's Bureau Chief

© Sputnik / Konstantin Chalabov / Go to the photo bankSputnik
Sputnik - Sputnik International
Index on Censorship condemns the entry ban that Ankara imposed on the head of Sputnik’s Turkey bureau chief, and expresses concerns about the recurrent practice to ban foreign media entry to the country as means to restrict access to information, Melody Patry, a senior advocacy officer at the watchdog, told Sputnik Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, the chief editor of Sputnik News Agency’s Turkish bureau, Tural Kerimov, was denied entry to Turkey, stripped of his accreditation and residence permit in Turkey.

"Index condemns the entry ban imposed by Turkish authorities against Russian journalist Tural Kerimov, the Turkey bureau chief for Sputnik news agency. We are extremely concerned about the recurrent practice of barring foreign correspondents from entering the country as a mean to restrict access to information. We also condemn the Turkish Telecommunications Authority's decision to block access to Sputnik's website," Patry said.

The Turkish government blocked access to the Sputnik News Agency website without notice last Thursday, citing "administrative measures." This was the latest example of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on press freedoms in the country. 

Kerimov entry ban comes a week after Turkish authorities shut the agency's Turkish-language website, citing "administrative measures." On Tuesday, a TV journalist from the German public broadcaster ARD was also barred from entering, prompting criticism from the German government.

"These incidents violate international standards with regards to media freedom and confirm a larger trend of ongoing threats to the media in Turkey," Patry said.

She added that these incidents were reported on Index on Censorship's platform Mapping Media Freedom which monitors and maps media freedom violations across Europe.

"We also shared the news on social media and will continue to advocate for Turkey to end its crackdown on freedom of expression, including freedom of the press," Patry said.

Index on Censorship is an international organization promoting and standing for the right to freedom of expression.

In 2015, 14 Turkish journalists were imprisoned, and Zaman, one of the country's largest opposition newspapers, was shuttered by the government.

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