New York, September 9, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores today’s decision by the Turkish authorities to deport freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink, who had been held in state custody since September 6, 2015 in Yüksekova, southeastern Turkey, according to reports. Geerdink’s lawyer, Davut Uzunköprü, told CPJ he would be appealing the decision.
“This deportation sends a chilling signal that authorities don’t want independent reporting on sensitive Kurdish issues in southeast Turkey,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “We call on the government in Ankara to allow journalists to report freely from the region and to lift the deportation order against Frederike Geerdink.”
Uzunköprü told CPJ that the governor of southeastern Hakkâri province was able to deport the journalist under a rule that allows regional authorities to expel foreigners suspected of wrongdoing. Geerdink was accused by authorities of illegally entering a restricted zone and engaging in “an act that helped a terrorist organization,” according to The Associated Press.
Geerdink has been indicted previously in Turkey for reporting on the Kurdish minority. She was charged in February 2015 for allegedly “making propaganda” for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Union of Communities in Kurdistan, but was acquitted in April, according to reports.