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Turkey Briefly Detains BBC, VoA Reporters

Not content with arresting or firing any potential source of domestic political opposition, Turkey’s president Erdogan is targeting foreign journalists. Having previously arrested dozens of Turkish journalists after the failed July “coup” attempt led to a nationwide crackdown on the media, overnight the Turkish government detained reporters working for BBC and Voice of America in southeastern Turkey.

Hatice Kamer, a correspondent for BBC Turkey, was detained Saturday in the town of Sirvan. She was covering a November 17 mine collapse, which left at least 11 people dead and five missing under the rubble. The Turkish language service of the BBC said Kamer intended to meet with families of the victims. Kamer was released on Sunday, BBC Turkey later reported.

Another journalist, Voice of America freelance reporter Khajijan Farqin, was detained in Diyarbakir the US government-funded outlet said according to RT, citing a Saturday message from her family. Details remain unclear, with her attorney unable to reach her for five days due to the state of emergency in the province, the report said.

However, like in the case of the BBC reporter, VOA noted moments ago that Farqin had been released after being detained by Turkish authorities in Diyarbakir. 

Farqin, who also freelanced for the BBC, was taken into custody in Turkey’s Siirt province at a police checkpoint while on her way to report on a landslide at a copper mine, turkishminute.com reported.

Earlier this month, Olivier Bertrand, who works for the French news website lesjours.fr, was detained while reporting in Gaziantep, north of Turkey’s border with Syria. He was subsequently deported.

Since declaring a state of emergency days after a failed coup attempt on July 15, the Turkish government has shut down close to 195 newspapers, broadcasters, publishers and distribution companies and imprisoned about 150 journalists on terrorism charges, an accusation that has become fairly common since the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s government.

Late last month, a few thousand people protested in Diyarbakir following the removal from office and arrest of the city’s co-mayors, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, on terrorism charges. Diyarbakir, the largest city in the predominantly Kurdish southeast, is the center of the pro-Kurdish movement.

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