Israel killed 17 journalists only in 2014 alongside hundreds of children. A country capable of doing that, of course, deports journalists with no reason but arbitrary accusations. But I wonder where the Western media and media platforms are when it comes to Israel?
Last week Israel deported seven Turkish citizens, including two journalists and five nongovernmental organization delegates, after holding them in detention for around eight hours upon their arrival at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Turkey was informed about the detention when the journalists and the rest of the group tweeted about the situation. Halime Kökçe, a journalist with the Daily Star, wrote first on Twitter that they were detained for six hours at Ben Gurion Airport with a group of journalists and activists and they were questioned for hours. She added that their cellphones were taken by Israeli intelligence officials and they were quizzed about their WhatsApp conversations and contact lists. After eight hours of detention, Shin Bet officials said they were banned from entering Israel for 10 years. The intelligence service did not explain why they were questioned and banned.
Later that day, we read in the Israeli media that they deported the Turkish citizens over alleged Hamas ties. Deporting all seven of the group of nine Turkish nationals who had a trip together on an invitation but allowing two Turkish state-run TV TRT reporters was nonsensical, even for Israel. The group was there to attend and follow a fast-breaking dinner organization with low-income Palestinians as part of a charity campaign held for the fourth time this year by the nongovernmental organization Sadakataşı. Hasan Öztürk, the Ülke TV editor-in-chief, said he had traveled to Israel a couple of times before. Actually, all except one had visited Israel several times before. "Israel allowed me to enter the country two months ago, but refused to let me in this time," Öztürk said. "They know I am a journalist. I am being deported to Turkey without any justification," he added.
You know, the Western media has long criticized Turkey over a lack of freedom of the press. While condemning Turkey over mostly distorted and exaggerated data regarding arrested journalists, although numerous statements including detailed information were issued by the Turkish government, platforms like the Committee to Project Journalism (CPJ) were eager to rant that Turkey is the "biggest prison for journalists." It was a big story for Western media and a big chance for black propaganda for authorities like the CPJ when Turkey deported four people who introduced themselves as journalists but tried to enter Turkey illegally through the Syrian border in the back of a truck. Turkey, frequently accused for its open-door policy for Syrian refugees and blamed for easing passing the border for terrorists, was again guilty, but this time for not overlooking a group of four who tried to enter Turkey illegally from Syria.
Now, it has been almost a week after Israel deported seven Turkish citizens, including two journalists, without any solid reason. The Shin Bet did not find anything during the search, which included their underwear. There was nothing but a few presents with them for Palestinian children for Ramadan celebrations. When Kökçe, the female journalist with the group, said that she was uncomfortable with the absurd detention period and practice, she was threatened with handcuffs in the "big Israel." There is no clear explanation or grounded accusation from Israel yet.The arbitrary deportation of journalists and the other Turkish citizens by Israel is not surprising as Israel is a country that kills journalists. Israel killed 17 journalists only in 2014 alongside hundreds of children. A country capable of doing that, of course, deports journalists with no reason but arbitrary accusations. But I wonder where the Western media and media platforms are when it comes to Israel?