German Journalists Association advises members not to travel to Turkey following arrest of Bundestag Deputy

BERLIN — The German Journalists Association (Deutscher Journalisten-Verband, DJV) issued an advisory to its members to avoid travelling to Turkey following the recent arrest of German Bundestag Deputy Gökay Akbulut.

The DJV is among the largest journalists’ organizations in Europe. Headquartered in Berlin, it has about 38,000 members.

On 3 August, Turkish authorities detained Gökay Akbulut, a member of the Bundestag representing the left-wing Die Linke party, upon her arrival in Antalya. She was released following pressure by the German Foreign Ministry.

The DJV underscored the alarming reality that if a member of the Bundestag can be detained without recourse, the safety of journalists is also likely compromised within Turkish borders.

Commenting on the situation, Frank Opral, a prominent figure within the DJV, emphasizing that Akbulut’s arrest highlights Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian disposition, which deems critics as adversaries of the state and leads to their persecution whenever an opportunity arises.

Akbulut herself shared her experience with the German newspaper Mannheimer Morgen, revealing that her arrest had been predicated on allegations of propagating terrorism. Subsequently, Turkish authorities revoked this order following the intervention of the German Embassy in Ankara and the German Foreign Ministry, ultimately securing her release.

Born in Turkey, Akbulut has been a dedicated member of the German parliament since 2017. Throughout her tenure, she has been vocal in her criticisms of the Turkish government and its policies. The incident serves as a potent reminder of the complexities and challenges surrounding political discourse and dissent.