Jul 10 2018

Journalists in Turkey to apply to presidential palace for press cards

Journalists wanting to get hold of a press card in Turkey will now have to apply to the presidential palace, according to Turkish news website Gri Hat on Tuesday.

The changes to the procedure required to obtain a press card come after the publication of a decree on Monday that transfers responsibility for issuing the cards from the Directorate General of Press and Information, which was affiliated with the now abolished Prime Ministry, to the Presidency Directorate of Communication.

The policy requiring that journalists apply to state institutions to obtain credentials is widely perceived as an instrument that allows the state to control the press. Turkey’s Press, Broadcast and Printing Press Workers Union of Turkey had demanded that the practice be abolished.

News that press cards will now be issued by the presidency is unlikely to ease such concerns. Rather, it will augment President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s notoriously tight control of the media in Turkey and further undermine the already limited ability of journalists working in the country to cover news in an independent manner.