German reporters forced to leave Turkey
The Turkey correspondents of Germany's public broadcaster ZDF and Tagesspiegel newspaper, Jörg Brase and Thomas Seibert, left the country on Sunday after Ankara refused to extend their press accreditation, which is tied to residency permits. Commentators condemn Turkey's treatment of the journalists and predict the move will backfire for the country.
When journalists become "terrorists"
The way Turkey is trying to block international media is bizzare, criticises the daily Die Presse:
“In the Turkish judiciary this approach is defended according to the principle: 'Those who report on terrorists are themselves terrorists.' This argument is admittedly bizzare, since to report on someone or to interview someone is by no means to approve of their deeds or even to pursue the same goals. The correspondents of international media stationed in Israel have repeatedly reported on the Gaza Strip controlled by Islamist Hamas. ... However - and entirely justifiably - none of them ended up in prison for doing so.”
Turkey exports fear
The German Foreign Office tightened its travel advisory for Turkey on the weekend. The advisory speaks volumes, the opposition website Artı Gerçek stresses:
“With the move Germany is expressing the belief that when it comes to freedom of opinion and expression Turkey is living in a different world, a different age. It's clear how the Turkish leadership has rudely poisoned the climate for freedom of opinion and expression and the press. However it hasn't confined this to its own country but has extended it to other countries, to Germany and all of Europe. In Turkey it has revoked the press passes of hundreds of [Turkish] journalists and left no living space for journalists who are not close to the government. And now the international press is under attack.”
Ankara will suffer most
Turkey is shooting itself in the foot with the expulsion, writes Handelsblatt's Turkey correspondent Ozan Demircan:
“If mid-sized German companies can no longer get reliable information from Turkey they'll build their new factories in Eastern Europe or Asia. The global giant Volkswagen, for example, is now hesitating between Turkey and the Balkans as the location for a new plant. German tourists who no longer read that Turkish hotels offer good value for their money due to the weak lira will fly to Greece instead. It's journalists who communicate such news. If Turkey wants reconciliation with its partners in the West it will have to open itself up. And dare to tolerate critical reporting.”