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Turkey deports journalist who criticized government

Feb. 7, 2014 at 3:47 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- An Azerbaijani journalist left Turkey Friday after an order to deport him for posting messages critical of the Turkish government, an Istanbul newspaper said.

Mahir Zeynalov and his wife were formally deported by police at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport and were to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, the newspaper Today's Zaman reported.

Zeynalov is likely to relocate to New York, the newspaper said, adding Zeynalov was put on a list of foreigners barred from Turkey Feb. 4 for "posting tweets against high-level state officials."

Zeynalov was a Today's Zaman employee.

He is also the target of a criminal complaint filed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming Twitter messages Zeynalov posted, regarding a government graft scandal, included "heavy insults and swear words in a bid to provoke the nation to hatred and animosity."

The Twitter messages included information about alleged police obstruction in a raid involving more than 40 suspects in the graft investigation, and a news report detailing the escape of one suspect in the raid, the newspaper said.

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