Journalist leaves Turkey before forcible expulsion

AP News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2014 9:07 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish newspaper says authorities decided to expel one of its journalists — an Azerbaijani national — after he posted anti-government tweets.

Today's Zaman newspaper said Mahir Zeynalov left Turkey for Azerbaijan on Friday before the government took steps to enforce a deportation order. He was nevertheless escorted by police at the airport.

The decision comes at a time of heightened concerns over media freedoms in Turkey. This week, Parliament approved measures, not yet signed into law by the president, to tighten government controls over the Internet.

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Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes said Zeynalov was under investigation for allegedly insulting officials in tweets critical of the government's handling of a police corruption probe.

The newspaper is affiliated with an Islamic movement which the government accuses of instigating the corruption probe.