Dutch journalist to be tried in Turkey on 'terror propaganda' charges

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 02, 2015 12:25 PM

ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish prosecutor formally accused a Dutch journalist of 'terrorist propaganda' on Monday, and asked she be jailed for up to five years, local media reported on Monday, a move that will deepen fears over press freedom in the NATO member state.

Security forces briefly detained freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink last month and raided her home in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish south-east.

The indictment, accepted by a Diyarbakir court, accuses Geerdink of posting messages on social media in favor of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), including a display of the group's flag, according to Hurriyet Daily News (HDNER).

Geerdink has repeatedly taken to social media since her detention to deny the charges.

Her detention sparked an outcry from Turkey's western partners, already concerned at what they see as mounting intolerance to criticism under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey languishes near the bottom of league tables measuring press freedom, though Erdogan insists its media are among the most unfettered in the world.

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Geerdink has reported from Turkey since 2006 and focused mainly on Kudish issues, a highly sensitive topic after a decades long insurgency by PKK militants demanding greater autonomy, which has left an estimated 40,000 people dead.

Efforts to bring a permanent end to the bloodshed since a ceasefire in 2012 have stalled in recent months.

(Reporting by Jonny Hogg, editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Ralph Boulton)