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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

MARCH 10, 2003

Donald Bartletti, Los Angeles Times
Alan Weeks, ABC
Elif Esra Ural, ABC

Turkish authorities asked Bartletti, a photographer for the Los Angeles Times, and Weeks, a freelance cameraman for the U.S.-based ABC television, to leave the country after they went near the northern Iraqi border. Since 1996, Turkey has prohibited journalists from crossing the Iraqi border without a Turkish government escort. Turkish security forces detained Bartletti and Weeks, as well as Ural, a Turkish fixer and producer also working for ABC, while the journalists were walking along the Habur border, south of the Turkish town of Silopi.

The three journalists were held overnight and released the next day after paying fines of about US$50 each. The Turkish Foreign Ministry then issued voluntary deportation orders for Barletti and Weeks. Bartletti said that he and his colleagues were treated well during their detention. Before the war in Iraq began, about 300 journalists were waiting in Silopi, several miles away from the Iraqi border.