On Tuesday, Frederike Geerdink, a Dutch journalist who frequently covers the Kurdish minority in Turkey, announced on Twitter that she had been detained by police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and accused of "propaganda for terrorist organization."
The detention and arrest of journalists in Turkey is sadly far from rare, but the arrest of a foreign journalist such as Geerdink is unusual. To complicate matters further, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders is currently visiting Ankara (in a tweet, Koenders said he was "shocked" by Geerdink's arrest).
The news seemed especially odd given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's doubling down around the same time Tuesday on comments about the freedom enjoyed by the Turkish press. As a number of people noted on Twitter (including Erik Meyersson, an academic with the Stockholm School of Economics, and Noah Blaser, an Istanbul-based journalist), the distance between these two tweets is glaring.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) January 6, 2015
terrorism police just searched my house, team of 8 guys. they take me to the station now. charge: 'propaganda for terrorist organization'
— Frederike Geerdink (@fgeerdink) January 6, 2015
Geerdink has since been released, though the exact nature of the accusations against her aren't clear. Her reporting would probably have brought her into contact with groups the Turkish government considers terrorists, and her book on the 2011 Roboski airstrike (in which Turkish jets killed 34 Kurdish men and boys) also may have been a factor.
Geerdink's detention came after a a number of Turkish journalists were arrested (including Ekrem Dumanli, editor in chief of Zaman, a leading newspaper with links to the moderate Islamic Gulen movement) late last year. The Committee to Protect Journalists named Turkey the world's worst jailer of journalists in 2012 and 2013.