Dutch journalist released after being detained at home in southeastern Turkey
DİYARBAKIRFrederike Geerdink, a Diyarbakır-based Dutch journalist, has been released after being detained by police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Jan. 6.
Geerdink had earlier stated on her Twitter account that eight police officers were searching her house and would take her to the local police station.
“Terrorism police just searched my house, team of 8 guys,” Geerdink tweeted on Jan. 6.
“They take me to the station now. Charge: propaganda for terrorist organization,” she added.
The Justice Ministry said in a written statement on Jan. 6 that there had been three different complaints to the Ankara police accusing the journalist of making PKK propaganda through her Twitter account, after which the Diyarbakır Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation.
Geerdink could not be found at her address on three separate occasions, but was detained on Jan. 6 in order to give her testimony regarding a court ruling, the statement also said.
She was released on the prosecutor’s orders after giving her testimony, it added.
Geerdink's announcement of her detention came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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".
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders was also attending the 7th Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara when he heard about the detention of Geerdink.
Koenders said he was "shocked" by the detention of the journalist on the official Twitter account of Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that he would discuss the situation with Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
“Shocked by arrest of @fgeerdink. Will personally discuss this here in Ankara with my Turkish colleague Cavusoglu,” he wrote.
Koenders also warned Turkey over press freedom four days before arriving in Turkey, reports said.
“The latest developments in Turkey are concerning. The arrests of journalists and police raids on media outlets obviously violate the basic values of the EU,” Koenders reportedly said while answering a parliamentary question.
Social media users, outraged by the reporter's detention, launched a virtual campaign under the hashtag #HandsoffFrederikeGeerdink.
Geerdink has been working in Turkey since 2012 and is known for her work on the Kurdish issue and women's rights.
In 2014, she wrote a book titled “The Boys are Dead” about the Roboski massacre. Some 34 civilian Kurdish villagers were killed in the air strike on Dec. 28, 2011, when they were allegedly mistaken for PKK militants as they were smuggling oil from northern Iraq into Turkey.
She is also a regular contributor to the online news website Diken.