Dutch journalist charged with PKK propaganda may be acquitted

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 08.04.2015 15:13
Updated 08.04.2015 17:33
emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

A prosecutor on Wednesday asked for the acquittal of Frederike Geerdink, a Dutch journalist tried by a Turkish court on charges of propaganda in favor of a terrorist organization. The trial was adjourned but the court is expected to rule for her acquittal when the hearing resumes on Monday.

Geerdink was released pending trial after the counterterrorism units of the Turkish National Police raided her home in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır and detained her on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda for the PKK. If convicted, she faces up to five years in jail.

The journalist, who has been in Turkey since 2006, is known for her reports on Kurds and the PKK. She had penned an article titled, "A permanent cease-fire? Now? I'd be disappointed," one month before her detention, expressing frustration on the reconciliation process that the government launched to end the campaign of terror by the PKK.

"And the topic that the media seem to get excited about is disarmament … Öcalan, after all, said a few days ago that a solution to the conflict could be reached within months. So, is he preparing for another ground-breaking speech at Nevruz? Will he declare a permanent cease-fire? I'd be disappointed if he did," she wrote, referring to the PKK's jailed leader's call for disarmament. Authorities have stated that her detention was due to a series of complaints over her alleged support for the terrorist organization.

Charges against Geerdink are based on her allegedly pro-PKK articles and an interview with senior PKK leader Cemil Bayık. She was accused of attempting to recruit militants for the terrorist organization.

Geerdink told the court that the interview should be viewed as "freedom of press" and she should not be punished for publishing it. "It was part of an article in which I advocated that politics can strengthen Kurdish identity," she said in her defense. Geerdink claimed she did not instigate violence or any other crime.

The prosecutor said Geerdink's articles, interviews and news reports should be regarded as "journalism activity" and requested for her acquittal.

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