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    Turkey Bureau Chief: Entry Ban May Be Linked to Blocking of Sputnik Website

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    Sputnik's Turkish bureau editor-in-chief, Tural Kerimov, said Wednesday he did not rule out that the entry ban that Ankara imposed on him may be linked to the blocking of the news agency’s website in Turkey.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The website of Sputnik's Turkish bureau was blocked last Thursday by the Turkish telecommunications regulator. Turkey's Golbasi District court backed the decision. Kerimov was prevented from entering the country having flown to an airport in Istanbul on Wednesday and since returned to Russia.

    "While I was in Istanbul, I did not receive any plausible explanations <…> The website is blocked, and I believe that the fact that I was not allowed in the country <…> may be linked to the decision," Kerimov told the RT television channel.

    The journalist also noted that the news agency had not yet received any explanations as to why it found its website blocked in Turkey.

    "There is a court decision, which we have not yet received," Kerimov added.

    Earlier in the day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that the decision to ban Kerimov from entering the country was made by Turkey’s security services.

    Turkey's crackdown on journalists and restrictions on freedom of speech have previously been criticized by the international community, including the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Russia and the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Turkey ranks 151th out of 180 countries in the RSF 2016 press freedom index.

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