Deutsche Welle sues Turkish Sports Ministry over seized interview footage

Deutsche Welle sues Turkish Sports Ministry over seized interview footage

Deutsche Welle sues Turkish Sports Ministry over seized interview footage German media outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) has filed a lawsuit against the Turkish Youth and Sports Ministry after the latter seized video footage of an interview conducted with its minister for a program featured on the outlet’s TV channel. 

Releasing a statement on Sept. 26, the DW Turkish service announced that it had applied to an Ankara court to sue the ministry with a demand to return the recordings after the ministry seized the footage of an interview recorded for the “Conflict Zone” program hosted by Michel Friedman. 

The recordings of an interview with Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç that was slated to be published on the program was seized by ministry officials after the interview was completed.

Meeting with Friedman at the ministry’s building in Ankara on Sept. 5, Kılıç responded to the questions asked on topics related to recent developments in Turkey such as the coup attempt of July 15, the widespread round-ups that have occurred in its aftermath, the situation of the Turkish press and the place of women in Turkish society. Kılıç was also asked to clarify President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks made on these issues.

Despite the fact that the ministry was previously informed about the questions and the two sides amicably bid farewell to each other at the conclusion of the interview, the DW team was told during their exit that they could not publish the interview, although no justification was provided for the demand.

In the statement by the DW, it was said that ministry failed to meet both deadlines given for the return of the seized materials, an action that was condemned by DW Director General Peter Limbourg. “This incident does not coincide with the principle of state of law and democracy,” he said. Limbourg also urged for the return of the materials as soon as possible. 

It was also added that the DW publications council “openly delivered support for the legal process that was initiated for the return of the video materials during its Sept. 23, 2016, session held in Berlin.”

The release quoted DW Publications Council Head Patriarch Karl Jüsten as saying: “We are for unlimited press freedom. Turkey is in firm ties with Europe. This requires respect for the basic principles of democracy as it does for freedom of press. On this point, similar standards must be applicable. It is a very worrisome situation that DW had to file a lawsuit for return of an interview made with a Turkish minister.”