Turkey kicks out critical foreign journalist: newspaper

, Friday 7 Feb 2014


Cameramen film a news conference by Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul February 3, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey expelled an Azeri journalist Friday for tweets criticising the government, his newspaper said, stoking concerns about media freedom a day after new Internet curbs provoked a storm of protest.

Mahir Zeynalov’s deportation was yet to be officially confirmed, but a photo on Twitter appeared to show police escorting him through an airport on his way back to Azerbaijan.

It followed in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government rushing new Internet restrictions through parliament that critics including the EU and Washington worry will limit free expression.

Activists called for a demonstration in central Istanbul on Saturday evening against the new restrictions, which still have to be approved by President Abdullah Gul, an ally of Erdogan.

Zeynalov works for the Zaman daily, a paper close to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher living in the United States whom Erdogan has blamed for orchestrating a recent corruption probe against members of his inner circle.

The newspaper said that Zeynalov was put on a list of foreign individuals barred from entering Turkey for “posting tweets against high-level state officials”.[More]