Turkey Deports Journalist Over Tweets Criticizing Government

Turkey Deports Journalist Tweets

Turkey deported a journalist last week for “posting tweets against high-level state officials,” according to an Interior Ministry order obtained by the journalist’s newspaper, Today’s Zaman.

The newspaper explained that Mahir Zeynalov, who was born in Azerbaijan was “put on a list of foreign individuals who are barred from entering Turkey.” The decision came one month after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against him for tweeting out links to articles about a corruption scandal involving the Turkish government.

The complaint alleges that Zeynalov “committed a crime by exceeding the limit of criticism.” The journalist’s followers observed the drama in real time as he and his wife, Turkish national Sevda Nur Arslan, surrendered to immigration officials at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Friday, reports the New York Times. Here are a couple of his tweets.

According to Today’s Zaman, the Interior Ministry document explained that Zeynalov’s Twitter comments made it so that his “residence in Turkey is considered detrimental to public security and political and administrative requirements.” Because he didn’t wait for an escort to the airport per deportation procedure, Zeynalov had to pay a fine before he was allowed to board his flight, accompanied by an officer. A photo posted to Twitter showed the journalist being escorted at the airport. He later tweeted a photo of the front page of Today’s Zaman.

The journalist also published his side of the story in the newspaper he works for after he arrived in Azerbaijan. While some government supporters claimed Zeynalov was deported because his residency permit expired, the newspaper responded, saying his papers weren’t due to expire for more than a month.

[Image: Twitter]

Melissa Stusinski
Melissa grew up in the Seattle area, but moved to Indiana to attend Anderson University in 2005 and was editor at the school's Literary Arts Magazine for two years. When she isn't focused on writing, Melissa enjoys working on cars, gaming, and exploring new places. [Contact: Melissa@socialnewsdaily.com]


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