A pair of British reporters for VICE News and their translator were arrested this past week in Diyarbakir, in the southeast of Turkey, and are now said to be facing formal charges of “working on behalf of a terrorist organization” based on their coverage of the ongoing war against the PKK.
VICE European head Kevin Sutcliffe condemned the detentions, saying they were unjust and that the charges were “alarmingly false,” insisting that the news organization will continue to work with relevant offiials to expedite the safe release of the three.
The incident is far from unique, as Turkey as often turned against reports it perceives as unfriendy, arresting them on trumped up charges. In December, three German journalists were arrested for covering anti-ISIS protests in the area, and accused of being spies.
In 2011, during protests against the Erodgan government, Turkey carried out mass arrests of Kurdish reporters who they accused of being the “propaganda wing” of the banned PKK. In 2010, IPS reporter Jake Hess was detained for writing articles that officials said were too critical of Turkey’s treatment of Kurdish activists.
With Western reporters, the diplomatic pressure will almost certainly preclude Turkey from going through with these charges, and the likely end result will be expelling them from the country. Either way, Turkey’s goal is to limit coverage coming out of their war in the southeast, and these reporters won’t be continuing their coverage.
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