‘I’m not an agent,’ says US journalist after hours long detention in Turkey
Cengiz ÖZBEK ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Roy Gutman, a Pulitzer-winning journalist for McClatchy Newspapers, has been held in detention for hours by Turkish security forcesA prominent U.S. journalist, who was detained by Turkish soldiers on April 26 near Turkey’s border with Syria, has told daily Hürriyet that he is not an agent.
The Turkish General Staff said on April 27 that three people, including a U.S. journalist, were captured by security forces crossing from Syria into Turkey by raft in the southern province of Hatay’s Altınözü district.
Although authorities did not reveal their identities, Turkey’s pro-government media reported on May 1 that the U.S. detainee was Roy Gutman, an Istanbul-based correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, with a claim that he might be an agent for the U.S. government.
Gutman refused the allegation during a phone interview with daily Hürriyet. “The last person accusing me of being a U.S. agent was Slobodan Milosevic,” he said.
The Pulitzer-winning journalist said he went to the border to prepare a news story about the Syrians who cross into Turkey via the Orontes River.
“While I was walking in the town of Hacıpaşa, two petrol smugglers saw me and called the Turkish army. The army didn't interrogate me during the six hours that they kept me, but the gendarmerie did,” Gutman explained.
After he documented that he was a resident in Turkey, Gutman was released. Stressing that the gendarmerie were “professional and polite” during the interrogation, Gutman said he returned to Istanbul on April 27.
“I’m not an agent. I am an independent and careful reporter,” Gutman said, pointing to his previous pieces that were critical of U.S. administrations.
Gutman tweeted on May 2 for the first time since April 25, sharing his latest article for McClatchy Newspapers titled “Syrian rebels report advances in Central Syria.”