Dutch journalist who reports on Kurds in Turkey arrested for second time in a year

She has been detained in the town of Yuksekova in the Akkari province of Turkey, with the exact reasons as yet unclear

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Dutch journalist who reports on the Kurdish minority in Turkey has tweeted saying she is under arrest - for the second time this year.

The attention of rights organisations and media freedoms watchdogs is once again on the country which the Committee to Protect Journalists said in 2012 jailed more journalists than any other that year.

Frederike Geerdink, who was in a Turkish town she described as "pro PKK" or sympathetic to the militant Kurdish Workers' Party, tweeted: "I'm in custody in Yuksekova."

This is the second time this year the journalist has been arrested, the last  being in January for "disseminating terrorist propaganda", the Independent reported at the time. It was within hours of President Erdogan saying to ambassadors in Ankara that there was "no freer press in Europe or elsewhere in the world than in Turkey."

32-Kurds-Getty.jpg
Kurds, an ethnic minority which is mostly Sunni Muslim, are represented in the People's Democratic Party which is currently the third-largest in Parliament. (Getty)

She was acquitted of those propaganda charges in April. Speaking to the paper about the ordeal, she said: "The Kurdish issue is the biggest that Turkey has, it is the country’s biggest problem, so for a journalist it’s very relevant.

"People sometimes ask me why I didn’t choose another group that has problems such as Christians or gay people, but the Kurds are the biggest.”

Kurds, an ethnic minority which is mostly Sunni Muslim, are represented in the People's Democratic Party which is currently the third-largest in Parliament.

Ms Geerdink, however, has previously been accused of sympathising with the PKK, Kurdish Workers' Party, a militant group classed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union.

She has been detained in the town of Yuksekova in the Akkari province of Turkey, on the border with Iran with the exact reasons as yet unclear.

The Dutch embassy in Ankara is "monitoring the situation", the spokesman for the Netherlands' foreign ministry said on 6 September, according to Reuters.

The incident comes in the wake of two Vice News journalists being arrested in the southeast of Turkey on charges of having links to a terrorist organisation. Whilst the British journalists walked free last week, their Iraqi fixer remains in custody pending investigation.

The arrests raised concerns about Ankara's record on press freedoms at a time when Turkey is taking on a bigger role in the US-led coalition against Isis in Syria.

Comments