Dutch journalist detained in Turkey slams house burglary as ‘intimidation’
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands – Agence France-Presse
DHA photoA Dutch journalist of Turkish descent who was briefly detained by Turkish police after tweeting critical remarks about the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said her Amsterdam apartment has been broken into, denouncing what she described as “intimidation.”
“So there was a burglary in my Amsterdam home. I m impressed. intimidated. o wait... I M NOT,” Ebru Umar wrote on her Twitter account in English.
In another Tweet, she suggested the break-in was “no coincidence.”
Police detained Umar on April 23 in the touristic resort town of Kuşadası in the Aegean province of Aydın, after she tweeted an extract from a recent piece she wrote for Dutch daily Metro, critical of Erdoğan.
Umar said she was hauled out of bed for the arrest.
She was released on April 24 after top Dutch officials voiced concerns at her detainment, but is not allowed to leave the country and must report to police twice a week.
Police questioned her for about 16 hours over two Tweets she had sent in which she sharply criticized the president.
However, Umar told the daily Metro that her Amsterdam apartment was burgled overnight, saying the door “was forced open, and my old computer was taken.”
She took to Twitter on April 25 to voice her thanks to everyone for their support during her detention.
Although the officers were “a bit harsh” at first, Umar said she was “treated very well.”
Following Umar’s arrest, the Dutch Foreign Ministry had announced it was in “close contact with” the journalist.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted that he had contacted her on April 23, as well as mentioning the embassy’s assistance on the issue.
The Dutch consular agent in İzmir appointed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kuşadası district head lawyer Nail Özazman to defend Umar.
Umar was transferred to court with an arrest demand on April 24 following her proceedings in the security directorate.
Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said on April 24 that he was “relieved” she had been released but also slammed her arrest, saying he had contacted his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to voice his “regret” about the case.
“I made it clear that press freedom and freedom of expression is a good thing,” Koenders said in a statement.
“A country that is a candidate to join the EU should continue to push for press freedom and freedom of expression,” he added.
Rutte also telephoned his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu to voice his concerns.
Trials in Turkey for “insulting” Erdoğan, a crime punishable with imprisonment under the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, have multiplied since his election to the presidency in August 2014, with nearly 2,000 such cases currently open.