Dutch journalist arrested in Turkey after criticising Erdogan

 24 Apr 2016 - 11:18

Dutch journalist arrested in Turkey after criticising Erdogan
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a Republic Day ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey, October 29, 2015. REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

 

Ankara: A Dutch journalist was arrested early Sunday at her home in Turkey for tweets deemed critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to her Twitter account.

"Police at the door. No joke," wrote Ebru Umar, a well-known atheist and feminist journalist of Turkish origin.

Umar recently wrote a piece critical of Erdogan for the Dutch daily Metro, extracts of which she then tweeted, leading to her arrest.

"I'm not free, we're going to the hospital" for a medical examination before being taken to face prosecutors, she said in a second tweet as she left her home in Kusadasi, a resort town in western Turkey.

The Dutch foreign ministry said in a tweet that it was in "close contact with" Umar and "local authorities" and the Dutch embassy in Istanbul was "actively engaged" in the case, which had its "full attention".

Umar, who reportedly became a journalist under the influence of Theo van Gogh -- a Dutch filmmaker later murdered for making a controversial film about Islamic culture -- had written in the Metro about a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the Netherlands.

A political storm erupted this week over reports an email sent by the Turkish consulate to Turkish organisations in the Netherlands asked people to forward emails and social media posts which insult Erdogan or Turkey.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would ask Ankara to clarify the call, saying it was not clear what the Turkish government aims to achieve.

The Turkish consulate for its part said the note was sent by a consular official who used an "unfortunate choice of words" that was misinterpreted. 

The case followed outrage in Germany after the government there gave a green light for authorities to begin criminal proceedings against popular comic Jan Boehmermann for performing a satirical poem about Erdogan.

Trials in Turkey for insulting Erdogan have multiplied since his election to the presidency in August 2014, with nearly 2,000 such cases currently open.

AFP