Turkish police free Kurdish columnist Nurcan Baysal after brief arrest
Turkish police released Nurcan Baysal, an award-winning Kurdish rights defender and Ahval columnist, on Monday, hours after she was detained on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organisation. Baysal announced her release on Twitter, saying she had been freed and thanked everyone for their support.
"I thank everyone who called and supported me. I will share more details when I get home," she wrote.
Baysal told Ahval earlier on Monday that she had been taken to a hospital by anti-terror police. Lawyers representing Baysal said prosecutors had provided them with no further details about the charges.
In 2018, Baysal was named Global Laureate for Human Rights Defenders at Risk by Front Line Defenders, an Irish human rights NGO. She also contributes to Turkish news website T24.
Turkish police have rounded up thousands of writers, journalists, academics and state employees over the past three years on charges of links to militant Kurdish groups and the Fethullah Gülen organisation, which Turkey blames for orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016.
The arrest comes just days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he wanted to revive Turkey's floundering application for European Union membership.
Baysal was also detained by Turkish police at her house in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey in January 2018, and later freed. Human Rights Watch said at the time that she was taken into custody in connection with her Tweets criticising Turkey's military operation in Afrin, Syria.
Baysal is a founder of the Diyarbakır Institute for Political and Social Research (DISA).
14 February 2019:
16 October 2018:
Turkey seeks three-year jail sentence for journalist Baysal over tweets criticizing Afrin operation
by TurkeyPurge | Apr 18, 2018 |
Baysal was detained on the night of Jan. 21 after police teams broke down the door of her house. The journalist was released pending trial by a court on Jan. 24.
The investigation into Baysal has been completed and an indictment has been drafted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The journalist is accused of inciting the public to hatred and enmity.
Baysal writes for the T24 news portal. The journalist’s trial will take place at the Diyarbakır 7th Penal Court of First Instance.
In one of her tweets, Baysal wrote: “Racist fascists touting war! I am against war, I am Kurdish, I am a Gypsy, I am a Jew, I am an Arab, I am LGBT, I am Armenian, I am Yazidi… In short, I am everything you hate. Do not follow me!”
The journalist has denied the charges and said she just shared her views about the operation as a journalist. Baysal said she is against the killing of children and war.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation.