Vice President of Turkey Fuat Oktay has stated that press cards of 1,954 journalists have been canceled in the last three years, in reply to a parliamentary question issued by Atilla Sertel, an MP of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Oktay has said that 705 of the journalists whose press cards have been canceled were working for organizations that were shut down because of their affiliation with the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which is held responsible for the 2016 coup attempt.
The number of journalists whose press cards were canceled in 2016 was announced as 889. The number has now increased by 220 percent and become 1,954.
Oktay has also said, “As of November 29, 2018, the number of press members who have press cards is 15,206. 581 applications are pending at the press card commission for evaluation.”
CHP MP Sertel has made a statement on the topic, saying that 10 percent of the all press cards were canceled.
“First, General Directorate of the Press, Broadcasting and Information was abolished and handed over to Directorate of Communications. Then with the changes made to the Press Card Regulation, freedom of journalists was constrained.
“With the latest regulation, which is a fait accompli and prepared without asking opinions of occupational organizations, the press cards have almost become useless. The number of the members of the press card commission is reduced to nine. Occupational organizations, unions and journalists who have press cards are represented in the commission with only one member.”
Having said that members of the Federation of Journalists of Turkey and Journalists Union of Turkey should be in the commission which issues the press cards, Sertel added that he will be closely following the first meeting of the press card commission.