Minister Pakdemirli Expels Journalists from Public Event

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Bekir Pakdemirli, Agriculture and Forestry Minister expels Fox TV journalists from a public presentation in the ministry’s premises.

Fox journalists Beril Oğuz and Serhat Yağmur were forced by the minister’s press advisor Uğur Alıcı to leave the presentation at the Agriculture and Rural Development Support Board, albeit they were invited and accredited to follow the event.

Pakdemirli’s behaviour follows a previous conflict with the two journalists last week when they directed questions to the the minister on a controversial tender overseen by the “Meat and Milk Institution” a department of his ministry, and were prevented from apporaching the minister again by his press advisor.

The “Meat and Milk Institution” is criticised for opening a one day bid for purchasing hundreds of tons of wholesale meat in contrast to the legal obligations which provide a broader time-span between four to seven days. The institution is further charged with importing wholesale meat without a tender since January albeit the bid was opened later on Sep. 27.

The two journalists had directed their questions on the charges to Minister Pakdemirli last week as the he was making a public statement to the press but they were barred from interview. Oğuz and Yağmur followed up the issue later last week and Pakdemirli had to admit the irregularities but still insulted the journalists with “mockery” for having followed up the issue. The minister further threatened to cancel their accreditations for future programs in the Ministry.

Oğuz and Yağmur were at the Agriculture and Rural Development Support Board meeting as Fox TV reporters in order to follow the public event yesterday. Yet, they were prevented from following the event in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry premises for a third time by a public servant.

Fox TV anchor Fatih Portakal, in yesterday night’s news sharply criticized Bekir Pakdemirli after replaying the video recording of the Minister’s confrontation with his collegues: “You see the real image of those who insult us with ‘mockery’. You are harming your yourself. You are harming your party. Pity you. We are not your competitors. We are there to ask questions. Do not invite us to your meetings. Go back to your real work.” (HK/EK)