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MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. The actions of the Turkish authorities that detained a crew of the Rossiya 1 TV channel and decided to deport the journalists from the country are inadmissible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
"On December 7, members of the crew of the Special Correspondent program of the Rossiya 1 TV channel were detained in Hatay province in southeastern Turkey bordering Syria as they were going to the neighboring province of Gaziantep," the ministry said. "The detention was carried out by unknown persons wearing civilian clothes who, in reply to the journalists’ legitimate request, refused to introduce themselves and let them see their IDs." The Turkish authorities refused to give explanations to representatives of the Russian Embassy in Turkey who got in touch with the crew shortly after its detention," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"We strongly condemn the illegal actions of the Turkish authorities," the ministry said. "Such attitude towards the media is absolutely unacceptable."
The ministry also said it was curious as to what "rules" had been violated by the Russian journalists. "One gets the impression that Ankara is scared that correspondents of the Rossiya 1 TV channel may throw spotlight on facts about the illegal activities carried out in the Turkish-Syrian border area the Turkish government would prefer to keep in the shadow," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the incident was quite telling in the light of a series of violations of the rights of the local and foreign media in Turkey. "The international organizations, including the OSCE, have repeatedly drawn attention of the world public to this. In this regard, the detention of Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet Can Dundar and the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul in late November over a report about the involvement of the Turkish intelligence agencies in the supplies of weapons to militants in Syria is indicative in this respect. The journalists were charged with ‘espionage, disclosure of state secrets and terrorism.’ They are facing life in prison," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.