Saturday, February 8, 2014

Turkey deports journalist over tweets

Interior Ministry document shows Zeynalov deported over critical tweets
Mahir Zeynalov and wife. (Photo Today's Zaman)

A document released by the Interior Ministry on Tuesday proves that the decision to deport Mahir Zeynalov, a Today's Zaman journalist and blogger, was made over tweets Zeynalov posted. This contradicts another document issued by the ministry on Friday which says the journalist was ordered to leave as the result of the expiration of his residence permit.

The Interior Ministry document Today's Zaman obtained was dated Feb. 4 and states that the Prime Ministry's Coordination Center (BİMER) demanded the deportation or exclusion of Azerbaijani national Mahir Zeynalov for his “statements that are contrary to fact” and “against the state and government.”
The Interior Ministry found it appropriate to deport Zeynalov over his tweets, sent from the @MahirZeynalov_ account and targeting high-level state officials, the document states. Zeynalov was also included in the category of ‘'Foreign nationals whose entry into our country [Turkey] has been barred.”

Zeynalov has a residence permit valid until March 10, 2014. Zeynalov, who has held a press card for the past four years, said he applied to the BYEGM this year for the annual renewal of his press card, but was told by a BYEGM official in İstanbul that the İstanbul office had received a notice from the BYEGM headquarters that it refused to renew his press card.
Even if he were not employed as a journalist, he would still get the residence permit as he has been married to a Turkish woman for 15 months. According to the website of the İstanbul Police Department, foreigners married to a Turkish citizen can apply for a residence permit under that status.

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