Authorities in Turkey have detained another foreign journalist in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast as she was covering Ankara’s military campaign against Kurdish militants.
Dutch journalist 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 she has been arrested by Turkish authorities this year.
The Dutch embassy in Ankara is “monitoring the situation”, a spokesman for the Netherlands’ foreign ministry said on 6 September, according to Reuters.
Last week two British journalists working for Vice News were also detained while reporting from the majority Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. They were kept in custody for a week on alleged terrorism charges. Both have since been released and returned to the UK, but their Iraqi translator has remained in custody.
Press TV reports: The arrest of Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink on Sunday marked the second time she was taken into custody by Turkish security officers so far this year, AFP reported, citing a Twitter post by the reporter saying that she had been arrested in the Yuksekova district of Turkey’s Hakkari Province and due to be interrogated by a state prosecutor.
Speaking to Dutch broadcaster NOS, she further said that Turkish authorities had accused her of entering a “forbidden zone.” She insisted, however, that there was “no sign anywhere saying you can’t be there.”
According to the report, a Turkish official said that Geerdink was arrested for a “breach of security” since she entered a zone where permission was required.
Geerdink further told the NOS that prior to her detention, she was reporting on a group of 32 activists forming human shields in one of the areas where Turkish troops are conducting military operations against Kurdish militants.
“I expected to spend two hours with them (the activists), but when we got there, the road was blocked by the army and I ended up spending two days there,” she said as cited in the report.
Back in January, she was briefly detained by Turkish authorities on allegations of “spreading terrorist propaganda” for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). She was, however, acquitted at her trial in April.
Geerdink, the report said, moved to Turkey in 2006 and primarily reports on the country’s Kurdish population.
Concerns have been growing about press freedom in Turkey. Journalists have been complaining of a squeeze on media critical of the government as Ankara presses its “anti-terror” offensive against the PKK.