Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish reporters in ‘terrorism’ probe, relative says

Istanbul — Nine Turks working for pro-Kurdish media outlets were arrested Tuesday in Turkey, their employers and lawyers said, with a relative of one saying they were accused of “terrorist activities.”

Four women and five men were arrested at dawn in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and the southeastern city of Urfa, lawyers from the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), a press freedom organization, said.

MLSA said those arrested work for news organizations including the Mezopotamia Agency and the newspaper Yeni Yasam and include several journalists and “press employees.”

The nine were denied access to their lawyers for 24 hours, MLSA said in a message on X.

“No declaration has been made about the reasons for the detention of the journalists” on Tuesday morning, it said.

Mezopotamia said one of its journalists was arrested in Ankara during “a police operation at his home.”

A relative of one of the journalists, who asked not to be named, told AFP the police showed up at the journalist’s home at dawn.

She said the families of the journalists had been informed that their arrests were “part of an investigation opened in 2022 for terrorist activities.”

The journalists based in Istanbul were being held on Tuesday in a police station in the city, she said.

The international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, contacted in Istanbul, said it was “monitoring the situation closely.”

Elsewhere, Belgian police searched the studios of two Kurdish channels, Sterk TV and Medya News, that broadcast from Belgium, the two media outlets said in a statement to AFP.

The Belgian public prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday that the searches were carried out “during the night” “at the request of the French judiciary,” which is seeking to “establish possible evidence of terrorist financing.

A source close to the police operation who asked not to be named told AFP those raids had “no link” to the arrests in Turkey.

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