National police department says passports of journalists canceled as ‘preventive measure’

National police department says passports of journalists canceled as ‘preventive measure’

Emine Kart - ANKARA
National police department says passports of journalists canceled as ‘preventive measure’ The passports of a number of journalists were canceled upon the July 15 failed coup attempt as “a preventive measure,” officials from the National Police Department have reportedly told a member of parliament, adding some of these cancelations, including the seizure of a Turkish-Armenian journalist’s passport, would however be corrected.

The issue first raised eyebrows when the passport of a Turkish-Armenian journalist was seized upon his arrival in Turkey on the evening of Aug. 6.

While thousands of people from various institutions and organizations have been detained since the failed uprising on July 15, the operation towards journalists also continued. Tens of journalists have been detained and the passports of many journalists have been seized. 

Armenian journalist Hayko Bağdat’s passport was seized by police officers when he arrived in Turkey on the evening of Aug. 6.

“According to the information I have received from the police department, as a preventive measure following the July 15 [coup attempt], the passports of many journalists were canceled. They told me that some of them will be corrected, including the passport of Hayko Bağdat,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Selina Doğan told Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 8.

According to the information given by the police, later in the day the passports of some of those journalists were reprocessed upon the conclusion of related investigations, Doğan said on her Twitter account.

Meanwhile, a member of parliament queried Turkey’s interior minister concerning the legal basis of the seizure of Bağdat’s passport.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul deputy Garo Paylan tabled a motion on Aug. 8, in which he addressed questions concerning the incident involving Armenian journalist Bağdat to Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
Paylan asked whose passports were to be seized upon the July 15 investigations and whether there had been any investigation concerning the journalists whose passports were already seized. 

‘No problem with Bağdat’

Over the weekend, Bağdat told Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos that the police hadn’t provided any information regarding the reason for the seizure of his passport. “They seized my passport without any reason. They said, ‘You will find out within a couple of days.’ HDP MP Garo Paylan and CHP MP Selina Doğan will bring this issue to the parliamentary agenda and my lawyer will investigate the reason. This is a kind of ban on leaving the country,” Bağdat was quoted by Agos as saying. 

Also speaking to Agos on Aug. 8, Doğan said that she spoke to police officials shortly after Bağdat’s passport was seized at the airport.

“The officials said that the passports of some journalists have started to be issued since the investigations were completed and there was no problem with Hayko Bağdat. Due to some correspondence problems, his passport was seized but he might get it back this evening,” Doğan was quoted by Agos as saying.