Zekeriya Öz, the Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor, is responding reporters' questions during his visit to Vatan Police Department on Dec 19. AA photo
Journalists will no longer be allowed to enter police departments, a statement released from the Turkish police has said. “Members of the press will not be allowed into the Police Departments all over Turkey as of Dec. 22, 2013,” a statement read.
“Journalists will be invited in the event of a press statement or such development. We ask press members who use the press rooms at the Vatan and Gayrettepe Police Departments [in Istanbul] to return their keys and entrance cards.”
The move came amid a reshuffle in the police organization that saw more than 100 police chiefs being removed from their posts, which followed a far-reaching graft investigation. Two sons of ministers have been arrested as part of the probe.
Turkey Journalists Federation (TGF) criticized the decision.
“At a time when the country’s agenda was busy with very serious allegations such as ‘corruption’ and ‘thievery,’ the decree is highly meaningful,” a statement said. “Journalists work for the good of the public’s right to receive information. This decree does not only prevent the public’s right to get information, but it also means censoring.
“The journalists have not faced such a decision even during the era of Sept. 12 [1980, military coup].
“We condemn the decision to ban journalists at a time when the public needs to see the facts the most and we call on the Interior Ministry and the Police Department to reconsider the decision, which will go as a black stain in Turkish press history,” the statement said.