AKP blacklists Turkish reporter for asking 'banned questions'

Fox TV reporter Barış Kaya was reportedly banned from a press conference by AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik for asking questions that he was told not to ask, he said in a tweet on Sep. 13.

Duvar English

Fox TV reporter Barış Kaya said on Sep. 13 that ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Ömer Çelik's exclusion of him from a press conference on Sep. 2 was the result of his asking questions he was told not to, he said in a tweet.

Kaya's exclusion from the press conference had come shortly after he asked questions on air about former minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, who has been in the spotlight recently after saying that all the accusations of corruption filed against him in 2013 were true. 

The AKP's controversial barring of Kaya received media coverage shortly after, and Çelik made a statement about it during a press conference on Sep. 13, saying that the reporter was warned before. 

The spokesman pointed out that there were in fact some reporters allowed in the press conference, although almost entirely from pro-government outlets, as proof that Kaya's banning was an isolated incident about him. 

"There were issues every time this friend was warned, and we told the Fox administration about it too. There were no issues with any other reporters," Çelik said. "This is a personal problem." 

The spokesman said that all such events have rules, including press conferences, and that Kaya's barring was about him, and not the institution. 

"It's not institutional, it's about the reporter's behavior. We try not to make it personal, but the lies that are being told will make all objective journalists' work go to waste," the spokesman claimed. 

Kaya responded to Çelik's statement in a tweet where he said that he was barred for asking questions he was told not to by the spokesman. 

Kaya said that he was told not to ask about sacked Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, which he did ask about eventually. 

"He told me not to ask about Ruhsar Pekcan, I did. He knew I would ask about Erdoğan Bayraktar, so he didn't let me in the room. It's not 'personal.' I was kept out for asking questions I was told not to," Kaya said.