Turkey releases detained Dutch reporter

6th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Turkey on Tuesday released a Dutch reporter based in Kurdish-majority southeast of the country after detaining her for several hours on accusations of posting tweets in support of a "terrorist group".

Frederike Geerdink, who writes for Dutch, Turkish and English-language media, had earlier written on Twitter that she had been arrested following a search of her house.

"terrorism police just searched my house, team of 8 guys. they take me to the station now. charge: 'propaganda for terrorist organisation'," she wrote on Twitter.

Geerdink announced her release in a subsequent Tweet several hours later which read: "free again. terrorism squad takes me home now."

Police sources told AFP that Geerdink was arrested upon the order of the chief prosecutor's office in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir and was released after being interrogated for three hours.

She was detained due to her Tweets deemed to be "terrorist propaganda." It was not immediately clear which tweets had prompted the inquiry.

Geerdink, who moved to Turkey in 2006, has been based in Diyarbakir since 2012 and specialises in writing about the Kurds as well as the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is banned by Turkey as a terrorist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in recent weeks come under strong pressure over Turkey's media rights record following raids in December against opposition media.

Geerdink's detention came hours after Erdogan had declared at a meeting of ambassadors in Ankara that "there is no freer press, in Europe or elsewhere in the world, than in Turkey".

The controversy also erupted as Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders was in Ankara for talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Koenders wrote on Twitter that he was "shocked" by Geerdink's arrest and that he would "personally discuss this here in Ankara with my colleague Cavusoglu."

Geerdink wrote a 2014 book entitled "De jongens zijn dood" ("The Boys Are Dead"), which examines a botched air strike in 2011 by Turkish army that killed 35 Kurdish civilians.

Turkey has long been accused of a lack of press freedom. Last week police briefly detained two journalists for Tweets deemed critical of Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted government.

Turkey was the world's top jailer of journalists in 2012 and 2013, ahead of Iran and China, according to the international Committee to Protect Journalists, before improving to tenth place in 2014.


© 2015 AFP

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