Turkish presidential aide asked to testify for regulation that canceled press cards
Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun was called to testify by the Council of State for a change in the regulations that cost dozens of journalists their press cards, Deutsche Welle reported on Sept. 21.
Turkey's Council of State has asked Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun to testify regarding a regulation that cost dozens of journalists their state press cards, Deutsche Welle reported on Sept. 21.
Turkey's Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD) and Turkey's Press Workers Union (DİSK Basın-İş) had petitioned for the reversal of the Dec. 14, 2018 legislation that changed who can get press cards in the country.
The legislation mandated that press cards in Turkey would be turquoise instead of the incumbent yellow, essentially requiring a re-assignment of all press cards in the country.
In practice, only a selected group of journalists were assigned this new press card handed out by the presidency, and others' existing press cards were annulled, robbing them of the document that legitimizes their profession and protects their rights and freedoms.
The Council of State ruled in 2020 that the legislation was a violation of press freedom, noting that "a breach of national security or public order," and "hurting the honor of the profession of journalism" were not valid reasonings to annul press cards as the Presidency did.
The case went to a higher department of the Council of State, which conceded that the enforcement of the legislative items in question be suspended.
The presidency then published a decree enforcing the suspended items, prompting the second and current lawsuit.
The Council of State took their prosecution a step further in the second lawsuit and petitioned Presidential Communications Director Altun to testify for the legislation.
The legislation in question leverages press cards against journalists, and Altun has been insistent on his stance, evident in the second decree re-enforcing the turquoise card law, ÇGD head Can Güleryüzlü said.