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Turkey delays renewing press credentials for 150 foreign journalists, says RSF

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Some 150 foreign journalists in Turkey have been forced to wait for more than two months for the government to renew their credentials, the Ahval news website reported, citing the Berlin branch of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

The organization called on the Turkish government to renew the journalists’ press cards, which double in Turkey as work permits and must be renewed every year. It said that more than half of the 30 German journalists who applied had not been granted new cards.

“It cannot be the case that numerous foreign media professionals in Turkey have to wait for weeks again for their press cards and thus for their work permits,” said RSF managing director Christian Mihr. “The Turkish authorities must ensure that all journalists in the country can report without restrictions.”

The media watchdog criticized Turkey’s government for failing to accredit journalists last May, when several reporters from foreign publications were denied entry to a news conference because they had not received their press cards.

At the time Turkish officials said the delay had been caused by the shift that brought Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system after elections in June 2018, but Mihr said the delay could not be blamed on a bureaucratic glitch and that the incident had been a “brazen attempt” to limit press freedom.

Turkey ranks 157th out of 180 countries in RSF’s press freedom ranking.

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