Dutch journalist claims he may be banned from Turkey as of 2014

Dutch journalist claims he may be banned from Turkey as of 2014

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Dutch journalist claims he may be banned from Turkey as of 2014

Dutch journalist Bram Vermeulen (L) arrived in Turkey in 2009, and is an award winning journalist.

A Dutch journalist has claimed he has been blacklisted and told by the Turkish authorities that he will not be able to get a new press card as of 2014, and will also be unable to enter the country as a tourist, due to "security-related concerns."

Bram Vermeulen, a Turkey correspondent for Dutch public broadcaster NOS News and the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that he was told by officials that he would not be able to enter Turkey after Jan. 1, 2014.

“As of February of this year, I was told that I am blacklisted,” said Vermeulen, adding that he was told at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport that his name was marked due to “security problems” and he was told that he was forbidden from entering the country six times since February.

“They took me to an office [at the airport] and said there was a security problem. An official told me that Turkey was forbidden to me. Then I said I had a residence permit and I have a press card and then they allowed me to enter Turkey,” he added.

Vermeulen said he had been able to solve the problem by calling his lawyer, the Turkish embassy and showing his press card. However, his press card was not renewed in April, unlike his colleagues, and he said he had not received any explanation for this situation either.

The Dutch journalist said he tried to reach the Turkish authorities over his press card issue but failed to receive any response. He said he would not be able to get a residence permit at the end of this year if his press card was still not renewed by then.

Vermeulen also said that when he went to the foreigners’ office in Istanbul’s Kumkapı, upon the Interior Ministry’s suggestion, the officer attempted to deport him there and then, and he was only able to prevent this thanks to the efforts of his lawyer. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands has also gotten involved in the issue by contacting Turkish officials, but no conclusion has been reached so far, he added.

“I think this is a bureaucratic mistake and I am just hoping that it can be solved by Turkey’s Interior Ministry,” said Vermeulen, adding that he loved Turkey and had many friends in this country. He also said he did not want to speculate over his denial of entry into the country.

“I am a very active journalist. I travel a lot around the country. I am not accused of any crime. I interviewed the president and the prime minister and I have made a documentary about Turkey, showing the beautiful sides of the country. I know that I am not an anti-Turkey journalist, but I am a critical journalist,” he added.

A high-level Turkish security official denied the Dutch journalist's claims, saying “there was no problem in their records,” daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.

“There is a situation that necessitates his deportation. He would have been deported already, without waiting for the renewal of his residence permit, should there have been any breach of law or regulation. Such a measure is a universal practice applied in many countries. The situation is [not as it has been reported] and the claims are not true,” said the official.

Vermeulen, known for his previous work in Africa, arrived in Turkey in 2009 and won a prestigious award for two television series he made about the country.