Istanbul – The stay of execution request concerning Dutch journalist Ans Boersma’s deportation was reviewed before the Istanbul First Administrative Court today. Boersma, whom MLSA represents in court, was unlawfully deported from Turkey without proper explanation on 17 January 2019, almost a week after she received her official press card. MLSA lawyers have filed an objection to this order and presented a defense against the deportation before the court today.
Boersma’s lawyer Veysel Ok noted that this case was not just an immigration matter or a case about a deportation, emphasizing that this was a case about freedom of speech and press. Ok reminded the court of the document provided by the Ministry of Interior Affair’s Anti-Terror Directorate, which explicitly states that Boersma is not part of any ongoing terrorism investigation in Turkey. After hearing Ok’s defense today, the court is expected to announce a judgement in 1 to 3 months.
The document from the Anti-Terror Directorate, explaining that they could not find any investigation that Boersma was a part of.
Ok demanded the order to be overturned, said Boersma should return to journalism
In his defense statement, Veysel Ok said: “This is not just a deportation case, it is also a case about freedom of speech and press. We have also filed an application to the Constitutional Court on this regard but our application is still pending before the court,” and continued:
“Our client has worked as an Istanbul correspondent for the Netherlands-based Het Financieele Daglbad newspaper and was specialized in finance reporting. She’s been living in Turkey for two years, had a residency, and a life that she’s built here. She also had a press card and as you know obtaining an official press card is difficult in Turkey. This card was issued to her by the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications on January 8, 2019. The government investigates each individual before issuing this card anyway and not having any connections to terrorism is one of the principal criteria. Our client received her card on January 8 and referred to the Directorate of Immigration only a week later to have her residency extended because foreign journalists have the right to extend their residency permits only after receiving their press cards. She was taken into custody at the Directorate of Immigration on January 16 and it was claimed that she was a suspect in a terrorism investigation. She provided a testimony only after officials from the Consulate arrived, and was deported the day after.
As you can see from the document provided by the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Boersma is not related to any terrorism investigations in Turkey. There is no piece of evidence or information that links Boersma with any kind of terrorist activity.
The government’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun alleged in a tweet that Boersma was deported due to her links to terrorism and this information spread via press and social media; however, that is not the case at all. The Dutch Chief Prosecutor’s Office has also issued a statement and revealed that there wasn’t any ongoing investigation about Boersma in Netherlands either.
Boersma has been living in Turkey for two years and has been covering financial issues in Turkey and you’re taking away this journalist’s right to freedom of expression and spread news with this deportation order. When Boersma was being deported, she wasn’t even allowed to go back to her home and pack a bag; was immediately taken to the airport in a haste. This is a clear violation of her rights.
There is no ongoing investigation about Boersma in neither Turkey nor the Netherlands. We request this deportation order to be overturned and wish our client to be able to return to Turkey because she’s specialized in Turkey and that is what she was trained to do.”