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Ankara triggers Berlin protest after refusing renewal of 2 German journalists’ press cards

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Turkey on Friday refused to renew the accreditation of two long-serving German journalists working in the country, triggering protests from Berlin, which said the decision was “incomprehensible,” AFP reported.

Jörg Brase, İstanbul bureau chief for ZDF public television, and Thomas Seibert, who writes for the Tagesspiegel newspaper, had their applications for press cards rejected by the Turkish government.

Senior German foreign ministry official Andreas Michaelis called Turkey’s ambassador to Germany to protest the decision and asked Ankara to reconsider, the ministry said.

“The decision is incomprehensible,” said ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr.

According to Bianet, Halil Gülbeyaz, who has been working for Northern German Broadcasting (NDR) for 12 years, announced on Sunday that Turkish officials had refused to renew his press card, too.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara plummeted after Turkish authorities arrested tens of thousands of people in a mass purge over a 2016 attempted coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan. Some of those arrested were also German nationals.

A gradual rapprochement began in 2018 after German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel was freed following his arrest the year before.

Another journalist, Meşale Tolu, was allowed to return to Germany in August 2018.

Both still face terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

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