Turkey detains journalist over tweets about Kurdish conflict

Turkish police raided Saturday the home of a journalist and arrested him, apparently over posts he made on Twitter last year about to the ongoing conflict between the state and Kurdish militants in the south-east.

A local journalists' union condemned the police action as the latest "attack on freedom of expression" in Turkey. Turkey was downgraded this year two places on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index and now is ranked 151 out of 180 countries.

Broadcaster IMC said news editor Hamza Aktan was arrested in the early morning and questioned by police about his tweets, including ones relaying information from prominent Kurdish journalists. 

Aktan, who wrote a book about the Kurdish minority in Turkey, remains in custody.

IMC, an independent broadcaster, has repeatedly found itself in trouble with the law and saw its satellite feed dropped from the main carrier in the country. 

The television station is popular in the mostly Kurdish south-east and among segments of the opposition to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who have been in power since 2002. 

At least five foreign journalists have been expelled from Turkey or denied entry to the country in the last two weeks alone. A Dutch journalist was arrested for insulting Erdogan and is not allowed to leave the country.

At least 1,845 criminal cases have been opened in Turkey for insulting Erdogan.

There are reportedly more than 20 journalists being held by the authorities in Turkey, many of them working for Kurdish media. The government says that some are detained for committing crimes unrelated to reporting, including violence offences. 

Cumhuriyet, a leftist newspaper, is also facing troubles. Two of its journalists this week were sentenced to two years in jail for publishing cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed after the Charlie Hebdo attacks last year in Paris.

The newspaper's editor in chief and a reporter are facing life in jail for reporting on alleged arms shipments by the government to Syrian rebels. They are accused of revealing state secrets and trying to overthrow the government. 

Last update: Sat, 30/04/2016 - 15:22
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