This article was published on the website of Aftenposten on February 9, 2016.
For the first time since 1971, a correspondent for Aftenposten has been declared unwanted.
Silje Rønning Kampesæter is being kicked out of Turkey. The previous time Aftenposten experienced something similar was in 1971, when this newspaper’s Moscow-correspondent Per Egil Hegge was expelled from the Soviet Union.
– Aftenposten is looking very seriously at the fact that we are in effect declared non grata, says editor in chief Espen Egil Hansen.
– We are permanently based in Russia and China without major problems, but are not allowed to stay in NATO-member Turkey. This is completely unacceptable, especially since a close millitary allied shows contempt for basic freedom of press, he adds.
Objections againts fiancee
Ms. Kampesæter opened Aftenposten’s bureau in Istanbul last year. After six weeks her application for a permanent press accreditation was rejected, which also implies that she will not be granted a residence permit.
Turkish authorities have not been willing to give Aftenposten a formal rejection of the application for a residence permit, and they have not issued any written statement on the reason why Ms. Kampesæter has not been granted a press card.
From what Aftenposten has learned the Turks have made it clear that their objection is directed against her fiancee, who moved to Istanbul with Ms. Kampesæter. He was born and raised in Germany and is a German citizen, as are his parents, but their ethnic background is Kurdish, and they left Turkey in the 1970’s.
Aftenposten has formally requested information from the authorities about what concrete reasons lie behind the refusal to issue a press accreditation and residence permit to our correspondent. This request has been rejected by the Turkish embassy in Oslo.