Turkey to impose visas for Russian journalists

Turkey to impose visas for Russian journalists

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
Turkey to impose visas for Russian journalists

A journalist holds up a poster to get attention and ask a question during Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015. REUTERS Photo

Ongoing tension between Turkey and Russia will soon be reflected in the sphere of journalism, as Ankara will begin imposing visas for Russian journalists starting from Feb. 15, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned from diplomatic sources. 

“Russian journalists planning to come to Turkey for short-term journalistic activities will first have to apply to the Turkish Embassy’s Press Counselor to get a necessary visa,” diplomatic sources said. Information about Russian journalists and the duration of their visits will then be transferred to the Directorate General of Press and Information in Ankara for better registration. 

Russia had reinstituted visas for Turkish citizens beginning on Jan. 1 as part of its harsh sanctions against Turkey in the aftermath of the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey over an airspace violation. Turkey had yet to respond to the move but has now decided to restrict free travel for Russian journalists to Turkey. 

Sources said the imposition of visas for Russian journalists was decided within the principle of reciprocity, as Turkish journalists willing to go to Russia for journalistic activities have long been subject to strict visa procedures. 

Another reason for the visa imposition was because Turkey has been observing increasingly biased news reported by Russian journalists who were not hesitant to distort the facts, sources said.    

Journalists from other countries will not be affected by this implementation but sources said a gradual change in the extant very-liberal procedure could take place in line with the principle of reciprocity. The procedure for journalists planning to stay more than six months was not changed.