Turkish police detained a Dutch reporter on terrorism charges today, highlighting accusations of media persecution on a day President Tayyip Erdogan declared that Turkish journalists enjoyed more freedom than any in Europe.
Frederike Geerdink, based in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, tweeted that police had searched her home and were taking her into custody on charges related to “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. The Dutch Foreign Minister, on a visit to Ankara, said he was shocked.
A police official said on condition of anonymity that Geerdink, a prolific Twitter user who reports for Dutch radio and newspapers including Het Parool in the Netherlands and Britain’s Independent, had been detained on the prosecutor’s order and would be released after giving a statement.
President Erdogan rejected “false” stories in the Western media depicting Turkey as increasingly undemocratic under his 12-year-old rule.
“There is an attempt to tarnish Turkey by using press freedom when it is in fact measures taken against terrorism,” Erdogan said in a speech to Turkish ambassadors that coincided with Geerdink’s detention.
“I dispute this. Nowhere in Europe or in other countries is there a media that is as free as the press in Turkey,” he said.