Vice News journalists detained: Turkish police hold two British staff for reporting from majority Kurdish area 'without government accreditation'

The two British journalists were identified in the Turkish media as Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury

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The Independent Online

Turkish anti-terrorist police officers have detained two British journalists and a Turkish translator for allegedly reporting from the country's majority Kurdish south-east without government accreditation.

The media in Turkey and security sources have identified the Vice News employees as Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury.

Police detained the group in the Baglar area of Diyarbakir province, where they were filming clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, security sources told Reuters.

They went on to add that two Britons and their Turkish translator were in close contact with militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

In a statement confirming the reports but not naming those involved, Vice News said: “A Vice News journalist, cameraman and fixer were detained by local police last night in Diyarbakir, Turkey, while reporting in the region.

“Vice News is working closely with the relevant authorities to secure their immediate release,” added the media organisation.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman told The Independent: "We are providing consular assistance and are in touch with the relevant authorities following the arrest of two British nationals in Diyarbakir."

A tweet by Hanrahan from 26 August showed images of the team's reporting in Turkey.

Earlier in the summer, a ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish militants collapsed after a group close to PKK rebels shot dead two police officers.

The government responded with strikes against the group in Iraq and Turkey.

On Tuesday, a senior PKK commander urged his armed followers to scale down unprovoked attacks on security forces in the wake of the collapsed ceasefire.

Stopping short of ordering a truce, Duran Kalkan, a member of the PKK’s executive committee, said it was against the group’s ethos to attack conscripts and soldiers merely doing their jobs.

In early 2015, Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink was arrested for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda after highlighting the struggle Kurds face. She was later released.

Additional reporting by Reuters