ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish police briefly detained a Dutch journalist for questioning Tuesday on suspicion that she engaged in propaganda on social media on behalf of autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels, an official said.
Freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink was detained in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir where she is based, and questioned for several hours before being released, said Tahir Elci, who heads the lawyers association in the city. She was questioned for a series of postings on Twitter, Elci said.
Geerdink tweeted earlier that her house was searched by eight terrorism police and that she was being taken to a police station on charges of "propaganda for a terrorist organization."
Geerdink, who reports mainly on Kurdish issues for Dutch and Turkish media, is the latest journalist to be detained in Turkey amid growing concerns about media freedoms in Turkey. Last week, a former television presenter was briefly detained for posting a tweet that suggested a cover-up of a government corruption scandal while police raided media outlets close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric and detained journalists and TV producers, raising fears of a government crackdown on opposition.
Although the government has embarked on a peace process with the rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, to try and end their 30-year conflict, the group is still considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies. Several journalists, including foreigners, were arrested in the 1990s on charges of making PKK propaganda for their reports, but such arrests had become rare in more recent years.
News of Geerdink's detention came as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed a claim that Turkish media were among the freest in the world, arguing that he was constantly being insulted by the press in Turkey.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, who is visiting Ankara, said via Twitter that he would raise Geerdink's detention during talks with his Turkish counterpart.