French journalist arrested in Turkey ‘for supporting terrorist organization’

French journalist Loup Bureau

French journalist Loup Bureau has been arrested in Turkish south-eastern province Şırnak on charges of aiding and supporting terrorist organization, dihaber reported on Wednesday.

Bureau was planning to travel to Federal Kurdish Region through the Habur border gate after visiting Şırnak when Turkish police detained him. The court decided the arrest of Bureau on Tuesday accusing him of aiding and supporting terrorist organization. Bureau was taken to Şırnak T-Type prison.

Turkish government has recently come under heavy fire from Western critics due to its crackdown on foreign nationals, who he accuses of supporting terrorist organizations and plotting to overthrow Turkish state.

After the arrests of a group of human rights activists, including a German national, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would continue to crack down on the agents from Europe and US.

German and Swiss officials warned their citizens planning to travel to Turkey against imprisonments and entry and exit bans.

French photojournalist Mathias Depardon, who was detained on May 8 in Turkey for “disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media”, was deported on June 09.

Speaking to reporters in Atatürk Airport while being taken to the plane by two police officers, Depardon said “It has been a great pleasure for me living in this country for last five and half years. It became impossible for me to keep on working here. This is a case of many journalists working and living here. I am sending my support to all journalists who happened to be not able keep on working and I wish you all keep on working and keep on reporting.”

Depardon’s deportation came days after French President Emmanuel Macron’s talks with Turkish President Erdoğan.

Pressure on foreign journalists in Turkey has been mounting in recent years, with the government, pro-government journalists and government trolls on social media directly targeting them.

On April 9, Gabriele del Grande, an Italian journalist working for the ANSA news agency, was detained during a security check in the southern province of Hatay. He was released by a Turkish court on April 25.

Del Grande was interviewing Syrian refugees for a book he is writing about the war and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Last November another French journalist, Olivier Bertrand, was detained in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and deported three days later following the diplomatic efforts exerted by Paris.

In the last days of 2016, Wall Street Journal correspondent in İstanbul Don Nissenbaum was held incommunicado for over two days for tweeting about an alleged soldier burning by ISIL.

In January The New York Times reported that Turkey denied entry to one of its veteran reporters, Rod Nordland, at İstanbul Atatürk Airport, with no reason offered by officials as to why he was not allowed to enter the country.

Deniz Yücel, who works for the German Die Welt newspaper and has been kept in pre-trial detention in Turkey since Feb. 27 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of President Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, was arrested by a court on Feb. 27.

In April, the Turkish government refused to renew the press accreditation of German Stern magazine reporter Raphael Geiger due to alleged remarks insulting Erdoğan.

Journalists Frank Nordhausen and Nick Ashdown were targeted by pro-government trolls and media for their tweets reporting on twin bomb attacks in İstanbul immediately after they occurred on Dec. 10.

“Shameless, immoral, treason,” said President Erdoğan of an article by New York Times reporter Ceylan Yeginsu about the recruitment of Turkish citizens by ISIL.

After CNN’s Ivan Watson was detained during a live broadcast from the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul in 2013, Erdoğan accused him of “working like a spy.”

Erdoğan also went after the Economist’s Turkey correspondent, Amberin Zaman, for her remarks on a TV show: “Shameless militant disguised under the name of a journalist.”

Selin Girit, a host on the BBC’s Turkish service, was another journalist targeted by Erdoğan, who said, “Part of a conspiracy against her own country.”

Two Swedish journalists were also temporarily detained by police in November in the Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarkabır.

Lindsey Snell, an American freelance journalist detained by Turkish security forces on Aug. 7 as she crossed into Turkey from Syria and accused of having illegally entered a restricted military zone, was released in October after two months’ detention in Turkey.

Finnish journalist and writer Taina Niemela was deported from Turkey in April on charges that she had been involved in “spying activities.”

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has also documented that 272 journalists are now in jails as of July 26, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 248 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 109 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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