Jailing more than a hundred journalists, Turkey has now canceled the press cards of the journalists who do not support the Erdogan regime. The authority to issue press cards was recently granted to the Presidency.
Evrensel daily is a Turkish left-leaning media outlet with modest circulation. The press cards of Evrensel employees who criticized the Erdogan Regime on various topics were canceled.
Cancellation brings with it a significant set of restrictions. Journalists without a press card cannot enter the sessions in the Parliament or the meetings where ministers and senior government officials are present.
Until a few years ago, a committee comprising of journalists and government officials held the authority to issue press cards. Although including the government representatives in the committee came under harsh criticism for years, the existing mode of conduct got worse, as the regime changed with the adoption of the presidential system in Turkey.
The representatives from the press were dismissed, and the committee became subordinate to the Communication Directorate of the Presidency. Press card requests of critical journalists were put on hold, and no new press cards were issued. However, it went even further. Press card cancellations have started.
Press cards of permanent cardholders Sultan Özer, Fevzi Argun, Evrensel newspaper’s editor-in-chief Fatih Polat, Editor-in-Chief Şengül Karadağ Bayhan and 14 other newspaper staff working in various departments were canceled.
Journalist union head’s press card canceled
Press cards of Vice President of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and Global News Director Gökhan Durmus were among those canceled. Checking the Press Card Query Section of the Communication Directorate of Presidency, the journalists saw the statement that their cards were canceled and called the Press Support Line of the Presidential Communication Directorate. However, the reasons for the cancellation of the cards could not be acquired since there was no response to calls throughout the day.
The number of journalists whose press cards are canceled is still unknown.
The practice was adopted against the Gulen movement
Journalists, who are perceived to be close to the Gülen Movement, had problems with their press cards since 2015. These members of the press, when their cards had expired, they could not renew them. After 2016, authorities started to deny cards to some names, even arrest them in some instances. Then pro-Kurdish journalists also had the same problem. Evrensel daily employees are also not given cards, and now the left-leaning media outlets also face the same problem.