Reporters from various media outlets have been denied access to the official Republic Day ceremony in the Turkish capital, Ankara while the 10 ambassadors who the Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan recently threatened to expel because of a joint statement they made, were not invited to the ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
The Republic Day ceremony was held at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum for the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, on the anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 1923. It has been attended by President Erdoğan and ministers, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, opposition Iyi Party’s leader Meral Akşener and Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
Many journalists including news teams working for Fox News Turkey, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and the ANKA News Agency also were denied access to the ceremony.
Editor-in-Chief of Fox News Doğan Şentürk reacted to the incident. “Half of the media outlets trying to report on the Republic Day celebrations, including Fox News, have not been allowed access,’ he wrote on Twitter. “This is a practice I haven’t met before in my whole professional life of 35 years, and is a first in the political history of the country. This is not only a violation of the constitution, but a total failure of mind as well.”
Journalists’ Union of Turkey made a statement saying it was an act of censorship. “Stop discrimination and do not violate people’s right to information” it said.
Meanwhile, ANKA reported that 10 ambassadors who made the joint statement calling for the release of human rights activist Osman Kavala on 10 October and were threatened to be expelled by Erdoğan, were not invited to the celebration ceremony at the Presidential Palace.