Rod Nordland from New York Times were banned from entering Turkey on Tuesday, the latest of such pressure against journalist whether be foreigner or local.
Border officials in Turkey detained a veteran New York Times correspondent as he arrived at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul on Tuesday, then forced him to take a flight back to London without explaining why he had been refused entry to the country.
THE ACTION AGAINST THE CORRESPONDENT, ROD NORDLAND HAS REPORTED FROM MORE THAN 150 COUNTRIES
The action against the correspondent, Rod Nordland, who has reported from more than 150 countries, including from Turkey last month, appeared to be part of a broader government crackdown against the domestic and foreign news media.
There was no immediate explanation from Turkish officials about the action taken against Mr. Nordland.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, denounced the action as unjustified and an affront to press freedom. It appeared to be the first time a Times correspondent had been denied entry into Turkey, according to David McCraw, the news organization’s vice president and deputy general counsel.
DOZENS OF TURKISH JOURNALISTS HAVE BEEN JAILED
Dozens of Turkish journalists have been jailed, and several foreign journalists have been harassed, detained, denied entry or expelled from Turkey in recent months, particularly since an unsuccessful coup attempt in July. A Wall Street Journal correspondent, Dion Nissenbaum, was held incommunicado for three days in December without explanation before leaving the country along with his wife and infant daughter.
After having arrived at the Istanbul airport from London, Mr. Nordland said in an email that he had been stopped by the border police. They told him that his name was on an Interior Ministry order denying him entry and that they were placing him on the next flight back, “no reason given,” he wrote. A Turkish lawyer for The Times, Orcun Cetinkaya, said the airport police had told a colleague that the reason was “national security,” with no further details.
A spokesman for the Turkish presidency, who spoke on condition of anonymity under government protocol, and Huseyin Muftuoglu, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said they would investigate the circumstances and had no further immediate comment. Telephone attempts to reach Ali Ozturk, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, were met with a busy signal.
TURKISH OFFICIALS HAD EARLIER EXPRESSED UNHAPPINESS OVER SOME ARTICLES
Turkish officials had earlier expressed unhappiness over some articles by Mr. Nordland from November and December, particularly one from the southeast city of Diyarbakir, the former stronghold of an outlawed Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K. The article described the aftermath of months of fighting there between P.K.K. guerrillas and government forces.
In a statement, Mr. Baquet said: “The Turkish government’s action is an affront to freedom of the press and an effort to keep the world from having access to independent reporting from Turkey. Rod is a veteran correspondent who has done groundbreaking journalism from around the world. There was no justification for today’s action. The Times remains committed to covering Turkey fairly, accurately and fully.”
Turkey has become the world’s leading jailer of journalists under the government of Mr. Erdogan, who has increasingly denounced news reporting he deems inaccurate, unfair or even seditious.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group, said in an annual report last month that at least 81 journalists had been imprisoned in Turkey, all facing anti-state charges, amid intense repression of press freedom following the coup attempt. More than 100 news outlets in Turkey have been ordered closed.
Even before the coup attempt, Turkish officials had taken a range of punitive actions against foreign news organizations. They particularly singled out the German media.
Last March, Hasnain Kazim, the Istanbul correspondent for Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, left after months of uncertainty over the government’s apparent refusal to renew his press accreditation, needed to work and live in the country legally. Mr. Kazim wrote in a farewell dispatch that he had received death threats and that Turkish prosecutors had warned that if he had stayed in the country, he could possibly be accused of supporting a terrorist organization or insulting the president.
The next month, officials at Istanbul airport denied entry to Volker Schwenck, a journalist for the public television broadcaster ARD in Germany who had planned to travel to the Turkey-Syria border.
They also denied entry to an American journalist, David Lepeska, who has written for Foreign Affairs and Al Jazeera America, putting him on a flight to Chicago.