European Parliament denies ban on distribution of Daily Sabah

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Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

The European Parliament has denied media reports that the parliament’s president banned the distribution of the staunchly pro-Erdoğan Daily Sabah newspaper on its premises, WHatti reported on Friday.

Turkey’s official media reported on Thursday that a ban was implemented following a request from Jeroen Lenaers, an MEP for the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal party in the Netherlands.

On Friday, however, Marjory Van Den Broeke, a spokesperson for the European Parliament, denied that there was any such ban, writing by email to WHatti:

“There was and is no ban on any paper in the European Parliament. The Daily Sabah can be obtained at the distribution office by anyone wishing to do so. The same goes for other papers which send copies to Parliament.”

“The Daily Sabah can still send paper copies of its publication to the Parliament’s mail room, and these will then be brought to the distribution office – as is the case with other newspapers – where they can be obtained by people wishing to have them. These publications will not be carried out further to yet other locations within the Parliament. I certainly did not confirm a ban,” added the spokesperson.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government reacted harshly to the news that the EP had banned Daily Sabah.

“Where is the press freedom that you [Europe] used to talk about? Why did you ban it? You will pay for banning Daily Sabah in the European Parliament. You will not be able to rest at ease,” said Erdoğan during a public rally in Denizli on Friday.

“Is there democracy in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium? They do not have anything in the name of freedom or freedom of belief,” he added.

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