Turkey detains second Dutch journalist in as many days

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2015 8:07 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Turkish authorities on Wednesday briefly detained a second Dutch journalist in as many days amid growing concern that media freedom in the country is under threat.

Mehmet Ulgur, a Dutch citizen of Turkish background, was arrested at an Istanbul airport, the Dutch Journalists' Association said. He was released after questioning, but ordered to attend court on January 21.

His detention follows that of Frederike Geerdink, a freelance reporter specializing in Kurdish issues, who was questioned and later released on Tuesday.

The detentions coincided with a visit to Turkey by Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders, who said on Tuesday that he was shocked by the first incident. "Intimidation of journalists is unacceptable," he said.

Ulgur, a documentary-maker, was taken aside while queuing for a passport check. He was told to attend a court hearing relating to an incident when he took photos at the 2013 trial of another Dutch journalist, news portal villamedia.nl reported.

Officials from Turkey's justice and foreign ministries said Ulgur had been brought in for questioning and then released.

The detentions come at a time of political tension between Turkey and the Netherlands, home to one of the world's largest Turkish diaspora communities.

In November Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher accused ethnic Turkish organizations in the Netherlands of lacking transparency and hindering integration. Turkey called the comments "racist" and the two ethnic Turkish lawmakers from Asscher's party resigned.

Last week, two journalists were detained for tweets they sent that were critical of Turkish authorities, and last month the editor in chief of an opposition newspaper was charged with belonging to a terrorist organization.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt in Amsterdam and Gulsen Solaker in Ankara; Editing by Dominic Evans)