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Dutch journalist's deportation from Turkey is a severe violation of fundamental rights

PEN International

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 10 September 2015.

According to the International and European Federations of Journalists' affiliate, the Dutch Journalists Association (NVJ), Dutch journalist and correspondent based in Diyarbakir (Turkey) Frederike Geerdink has today been deported to Amsterdam by the Turkish authorities, who accuse her of “hindering a military operation and supporting a terrorist organisation.” Geerdink has been detained for two days following her coverage of a Kurdish group protesting clashes between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants and the Turkish military.

Frederike Geerdink lived Turkey since 2006 and has been based in Diyarbakir since 2012 where she wrote about Turkish and Kurdish matters for international and Dutch media, as well as a critical Turkish online news media - Diken.com.tr. In a recent interview, the deported journalist vowed to return to Turkey “as soon as possible”.

The NVJ, EFJ and IFJ have sent a joint letter (see below) to the Turkish ambassador in the Netherlands to protest against the detention and the deportation of the journalist. The NVJ will hold a protest action tomorrow in front of the Turkish embassy in The Hague. IFJ and EFJ affiliate, the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), also condemned the incident through a tweet.

This is the third deportation of foreign journalists by the Turkish authorities in two weeks. Two Vice News reporters in duty had also been deported out of the country.

The IFJ and EFJ are alerting the Council of Europe's platform for the protection and the safety of journalists and the MappingMediaFreedom project about what they consider as a media violation.

Joint letter from NVJ-EFJ-IFJ

Amsterdam, 10 September 2015

To the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in The Netherlands

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), we ask your attention for the following matter and ask you to address this matter with the responsible authorities in Turkey.

We find the arrest and deportation of the Dutch journalist Mrs. Frederike Geerdink very alarming and contrary to international law and international treaties, ratified by the Turkish State.

We sincerely ask you to withdraw the decision to no longer admit Mrs. Geerdink to the Republic of Turkey. The NVJ, EFJ and IFJ point out that Frederike Geerdink is a professional and independent journalist, who is working for international recognized media companies in The Netherlands, Turkey and other European countries.

In a democratic society the press performs the function of a public watchdog, journalists therefore have the right to freedom of expression. Any restriction on this right means that the press is hindered in its role of public watchdog.

The arrest and deportation of Frederike Geerdink on the 9th of September of this year is a severe violation of several fundamental rights in a democratic society. We are deeply concerned about the impact that these measures have on the functioning of the press in Turkey, especially on the ability for journalists to do their work.

The NVJ, EFJ and IFJ emphasize the “chilling effect” of the measures taken by the Turkish authorities against Frederike Geerdink. Several times the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that restrictions on freedom of expression have a devastating effect on freedom of the press. Measures against journalists must therefore be taken very cautiously and should only apply to cases where there's a pressing social need, which hardly occurs. The deportation and entry against Frederike Geerdink is in no way imperative and constitutes a violation of the freedom of the press as provided for in Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights.

The NVJ, EFJ and IFJ are independent, non-political and non-governmental organisations registered in The Netherlands and Belgium. Together, they represent more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries.

Yours Sincerely,

Dutch Association of Journalists Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ)

Marjan Enzlin, President and Thomas Bruning, General Secretary

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Jim Boumelha, President

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