The German Journalists Union (DJV) has cautioned journalists against travelling to Turkey for work or personal reasons, citing escalating concerns over press freedom violations after the recent arrest of German MP Gökay Akbulut.
Akbulut, a Die Linke member of the German Bundestag, was detained at Antalya airport on arrival in Turkey on 3 August, only to be released several hours later. The incident occurred despite Akbulut identifying herself as a German MP.
In a press release on Monday, DJV’s president, Frank Überall, emphasised that the incident involving Akbulut’s temporary detention underscores broader risks faced by journalists in Turkey. “This recent incident once again highlights [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s autocracy viewing its critics as ‘militant enemies of the state’,” he said.
“If even parliamentary immunity fails to protect an individual from detention in Turkey, the danger is amplified for journalists,” Überall added. He urged journalists who have criticised Turkey, Erdoğan, or the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in their reporting or on social media to stay away from Turkey.
Furthermore, during a press conference by the German Foreign Ministry earlier on Monday, an official highlighted the significance of the government’s travel advisory pertaining to Turkey. The advisory specifically emphasises the potential risks associated with arbitrary arrests and detentions within Turkey, with a particular focus on individuals classified as dissidents, Alevi and Kurdish community members.
It was pointed out in the advisory that individuals from these groups were likely to be detained or encounter entry restrictions. The advisory also underscores that seemingly innocuous actions such as endorsing a social media post or disrespecting the President of Turkey could result in severe consequences.