Dutch journalist arrested in worst possible timing for Erdogan

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 06 January 2015 16:00

A Dutch journalist has been arrested by Turkish authorities at the same time the country's president was repeating his claims that Turkey has the freest press in the world.

Frederike Geerdink is a freelancer who works in the southeastern Turkish town of Diyarbakir and writes on the blogs Journalist in Turkey and Kurdish Matters about human rights, women's rights and Kurdish affairs.

She alleges that the Turkish authorities arrested her because she was promoting "propaganda for a terrorist organisation".

Dutch foreign minister Bert Koeders, who is coincidentally in Turkey for an official visit, confirmed the arrest via Twitter.

Turkish news agency Cihan reported that at the same time Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was telling a group of foreign ambassadors in Ankara that Turkey's freedom of the press is better than anywhere else in the world.

Attack the president or the prime minister in those [other] countries, if you dare. You can't do it in America, Germany or Russia.

  • President Erdogan

The president has made these claims repeatedly in recent months, despite police storming the offices of national newspaper Zaman - with more than two dozen people arrested.

Reporters Without Borders also ranks Turkey at 154th in its World Press Freedom Index - below the likes of Russia, Iraq and Myanmar (Burma).

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Graphic: [These countries are the world's biggest prisons for journalists]7