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Minister Kicks Out Reporters Over Controversial Public Tender Question

Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, has booted Turkish Fox TV reporter Beril Oguz and cameraman Serhat Yagmur out of a press conference, in response to a previous question addressed to him by Oguz regarding a controversial public tender, Turkish media reported on Friday.

The incident took place at an event about agriculture and rural development, where Pakdemirli participated a speaker.

Oguz, accompanied by Yagmur, had directed a question last week at the minister about a public tender for importing 300 trucks of meat that was held by the Board of Meat and Dairy Products, which operates under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Fox TV claims that the public tender was finalized only a day after it was announced on the board’s official website, which according to the report is a process that normally takes between four and seven days.

Oguz asked the minister in front of a camera last week on two occasions about the allegation that the 300 trucks of meat in question was imported without a “real public tender”.

“Not journalism, but ‘buffoonery”‘

The first time Oguz asked the question, Pakdemirli’s aide interrupted the reporter and asked her to stop, while Pakdemirli turned around and left. However, the minister himself scolded Oguz, when she posed the same question one more time in the following days.

Defending his aide’s behavior, Pakdemirli accused the reporter of taking advantage of his busy schedule to slip her question in. He added that what Oguz was doing was not journalism, but “buffoonery”.

The minister then explained that what matters to him is whether any bribery is involved and if the price is good for the government to hire the company, noting that it is only a 100 billion TL worth of a deal, while the government spends hundreds of billions of TL.

Pakdemirli also vowed to not accredit Oguz and Yagmur in upcoming events.

Despite the fact that the pair were accredited for Friday’s press conference, they were kicked out by an aide of Pakdemirli, at the behest of him.

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