DW offices in Turkey to be shut down afer authorities do not extend license

DW offices in Turkey to be shut down afer authorities do not extend license
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The liaison office of DW Turkish will be shut down next Thursday, less than a year after DW websites were blocked to access in Turkey.

The websites of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) were blocked in Turkey late June last year by media watchdog Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), for not applying for required licenses.

Now the liaison office of DW Turkish will be shut down on 28 March, after Turkey's Ministry of Labor and Social Security has not responded positively to an application by DW for the extension of its operation license.

"DW's journalism activities are faced with obstructions in Turkey for several years," the director of DW Turkish Erkan Arikan said. "The obstructions had peaked with a decision to block all websites in the summer of 2022. The recent rejection of an application by DW's sister company Media Services GmbH and a subsequent decision to shut down the liaison office in Turkey also mark a blow to press freedom."

Arikan added that they will nevertheless continue to report on political and social developments in Turkey.

Ozgur Ogret, Turkey representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said:

"Turkish authorities should immediately take steps to extend Deutsche Welle's operation license and stop trying to restrict press freedom. Denying DW license will only mean obstructing the activities of the broadcaster and depriving Turkey of unbiased and independent news reporting at a time when the elections are approaching."

Turkey's Progressive Journalists Association (CGD) said that shutting down DW's offices was a clear indication of increasing pressures on freedoms of press and expression, and that journalists working for international outlets have constantly been targeted in recent years.

"It is apparent that the rejection of the application for the extension of the license is not independent from the SETA report that is a document of blacklisting," it said.

In the 2019 report titled "International media companies' extensions in Turkey," the CVs, social media posts and previous employers of journalist working for BBC Turkish, DW Turkish, Voice of America, Sputnik Turkey, Euronews Turkish, Independent Turkey and CRI Turkish were made public, and the mentioned media outlets were accused of "carrying out perception campaigns."