A Dutch journalist was arrested early on Sunday, April 24 at her home in Turkey for tweets deemed critical of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to her Twitter account, the Guardian reports.
“Police at the door. No joke,” wrote Ebru Umar, a well-known atheist and feminist journalist of Turkish origin.
Umar recently wrote a piece critical of Erdoğan for the Dutch daily Metro, extracts of which she then tweeted, leading to her arrest.
“I’m not free, we’re going to the hospital” for a medical examination before being taken to face prosecutors, she said in a second tweet as she left her home in Kușadası, a resort town in western Turkey.
The Dutch foreign ministry said in a tweet that it was in close contact with Umar and local authorities, and that the Dutch embassy in Istanbul was “actively engaged” in the case.
Umar, who reportedly became a journalist under the influence of Theo van Gogh – a Dutch film-maker later murdered for making a controversial film about Islamic culture – had written in the Metro about a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the Netherlands.
A political storm erupted this week over reports that the Turkish consulate asked Turkish organisations in the Netherlands to forward emails and social media posts which insult Erdoğan or Turkey.
The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said he would ask Ankara to clarify the call, saying it was not clear what the Turkish government aimed to achieve.
The Turkish consulate for its part said the note was sent by a consular official who used an “unfortunate choice of words” that was misinterpreted.
The case followed outrage in Germany after the government there gave a green light for authorities to begin criminal proceedings against popular comic Jan Böhmermann for performing a satirical poem about Erdoğan.
Trials in Turkey for insulting Erdoğan have multiplied since his election to the presidency in August 2014, with nearly 2,000 such cases currently open.