The press credentials of journalists working for the leftist Evrensel and Birgün newspapers have been cancelled for no reason that could be determined, according to reports in the Turkish media on Friday.
When the journalists checked the status of their press cards because they had applied for renewal after the Press Cards Commission was subordinated to the presidency from the prime ministry, they saw a note saying “cancelled.”
Journalists Sultan Özer and Fevzi Argun, who had permanent press cards, as well as Evrensel Editor-in-Chief Fatih Polat and Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) Chairman and Evrensel Deputy Managing Editor Gökhan Durmuş are among the journalists whose cards were cancelled.
The commission also announced that the press cards of Birgün’s news coordinators, Yaşar Aydın and İbrahim Varlı, supplements editor Berkant Gültekin, columnist Doğan Tılıç and Ankara correspondents Hüseyin Şimşek and Oktay Evsen were cancelled.
The group had been waiting for a long time for the renewal of their credentials. After learning that their cards were cancelled, they called the Presidential Communications Directorate in an attempt to learn the reason for the cancellation but were unable to reach any officials.
According to Evrensel, other journalists have also had their press cards cancelled, although their exact number is not yet known.
It is difficult for journalists to do their jobs without a press card in Turkey as they need them for accreditation to attend certain events, follow trials and enter the Turkish Parliament.
Government critics and journalists in Turkey have been under pressure especially since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, following which dozens of journalists were arrested and more than 400 media outlets were closed down under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.