German TV reporter detained at Istanbul airport

BERLIN (AP) — A reporter for German public broadcaster SWR was detained Tuesday at Istanbul airport in what Turkish authorities said was a reaction to an unspecified previous incident.

TV correspondent Volker Schwenck was stopped from entering Turkey after arriving from Cairo and held in the deportation room of Istanbul Ataturk Airport, said an SWR spokesman.

“He hasn’t been released and he hasn’t been given any reasons yet,” Wolfgang Utz told The Associated Press.

However, a Turkish official said Schwenck had been banned from entering Turkey due to a previous incident.

“He knew he would not be allowed in, yet he still came,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. He said he didn’t have details of the previous incident.

Utz denied the official’s version.

“There had never previously been problems. It’s the first time he’s faced such a situation,” he said. “He wasn’t aware of any entry ban.”

Schwenck, who had planned to travel to the Syrian border to interview refugees, posted a picture on Twitter of a document titled “Inadmissible Passenger Notification Report.”

He tweeted : “Final stop Istanbul. Entry to Turkey denied. There’s a note with my name. I’m a journalist. A problem?”

SWR is part of the ARD network, one of two main public broadcasters in Germany. Another of ARD’s members recently aired a song poking fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prompting the Turkish Foreign Ministry to summon Germany’s ambassador.

The other major German public broadcasting network, ZDF, has become embroiled in a row with Turkey over a satirical program featuring a crude poem about Erdogan.


Suzan Frazer in Ankara contributed to this report.