About: Refusal of press card for German journalists

After the press card delay came to public attention at the beginning of March, several foreign correspondents recieved written or oral confirmation that their press cards had been approved and would be issued soon (several of those did in fact recieve their card around 10 days later). However, three German journalists, Thomas Seibert, Jörg Brase and Halil Gülbeyaz, recieved notification that their cards had been denied. This was an unusual step in Turkey.

Seibert, a freelancer for the German daily Tagesspiegel, lived and worked since more than 20 years in Istanbul. Brase, who is staff correspondent for German TV ZDF, had arrived in Turkey the year before. Both had to leave the country on March 10th, as a valid press card is also needed for the renewal of the residence permit (ikamet). Gülbeyaz was at that time in Germany.

On March 2nd, FMA tweeted:

[1/2] is shocked by Friday’s of the renewal of three press cards of international . Our colleagues , and Halil Gülbeyaz work accordingly to standards and…

[2/2] …there is no visible reason to revoke their and thus work permit to report from and about . FMA demands an explanation from the officials or the granting of their and all missing press cards.



Only two days after leaving the country, Jörg Brase recieved confirmation that the decision regarding his press card was reversed and that he would in fact get his card.

On March 12th, FMA tweeted: 

We welcome the announcement by Turkey to grant a press card to of ,reversing earlier decision to reject it. We expect similar outcome for T. Seibert & H. Gülbeyaz, the other 2 German reporters rejected – and the issuing of press cards to all those waiting.

About: Press card renewal

Every foreign journalist needs a press card in order to work in Turkey. This card is issued by the Directorate of Communication, a governmental body, and is usually granted for one year, with renewal in December.

For the first time, in December 2018, there was a massive delay of the cards. Many correspondents got their card in January, but many others didn’t get and recieved no notice.  After two months waiting, this issue came to public attention on February 28th, 2019, when several journalists were barred from entering a press conference in Istanbul, offered by Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, and the Finance Minister of Turkey, Berat Albayrak, on the ground that their press cards were expired.

The issue was raised during that press conference by FMA members. Katainen underlined the importance of press freedom for democracy, whereas Albayrak observed that those who had recieved the card were free to work without hindrance.

On March 1st, 2019 FMA tweeted:

About: Ans Boersma

Ans Boersma is a Dutch journalist who worked in Turkey for the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (FD). She was expelled from Turkey, despite having a press card, on January 17th, 2019 and declared “undesirable person”. In the following days it turned out that the measure had been taken because the Dutch secret services had alerted their Turkish counterparts about some – not fully disclosed – investigation related to Boersma.

On January 17th, FMA tweeted:

We expect a by the Dutch and Turkish authorities into the of our colleague , with the guarantee of a safe return to her hometown of Istanbul as in case the accusations are proved baseless.


The case is ongoing in the Netherlands.