Dutch journalist Ebru Umar arrested in Turkey
A Dutch journalist has been detained for questioning in Turkey after allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ebru Umar, a columnist for the Dutch Metro newspaper was arrested on Saturday soon after posting a tweet saying police were at her door at around 11pm Turkish time.
She later tweeted that she was being taken to a police station in Kusadasi.
Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesperson Herman van Gelderen confirmed that Ms Umar has been detained, and said: “We are aware of it. We are in contact and we’re following the case very closely.”
Insulting the Turkish state, government, military or police can be punishable by six months to two years of imprisonment under Turkish law.
Ms Umar, who was born in the Netherlands to Turkish parents, has made several comments about President Erdogan on Twitter, which are believed to be the reason for her arrest.
Turkish authorities have launched 2,000 lawsuits against people accused of insulting President Erdogan, including on social media, since he came into office in 2014.
Ms Umar has previously mocked Turkish restrictions to freedom of speech.
Last week, Ms Umar wrote a column for the Metro criticising an appeal send by Turkey’s consulate which urged Turks in the Netherlands to report any cases of people insulting Turkey or its government.
She compared the request to “NSB practices”, in reference to the Dutch National Socialist Movement, a fascist party modelled on the program of the German Nazi Party.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter today that he had been in contact with Ms Umar, and the Metro reported that she was “treated well” by police and expects to be arraigned today.
Ms Umar was arrested while German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU officials were in Turkey looking to bolster a deal that could stem the flow of migrants to Europe by deterring them from crossing the border from Turkey to Greece.
Ms Merkel has been under fire for her decision earlier this month to approve Turkey’s request to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out an offensive poem about President Erdogan.
EU leaders have been criticised for not speaking out against Turkey’s restrictions on freedom of expression due to the country’s role in limiting the number of refugees entering Europe.