Dutch journalist detained by police in northern Iraq
The Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink has been detained by the police in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Iraq. She said on Twitter on Wednesday evening that she faces deportation from the region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to support the journalist as best as possible.
Geerdink was about to cross the border into Syria. The police took her to the airport in the Iraqi city of Erbil. She’s still there. Geerdink thinks she is being deported because she is “persona non grata” because of her “sharp pen.” “Erdogan’s arm is long,” she tweeted.
“It is downright sad that the authorities in Iraq's Kurdish region are so afraid of a woman with a pen. And of course of their own local journalists, who are imprisoned more than ever,” wrote Geerdink. The journalist works for various Dutch media. She often writes about Kurdistan.
In 2015, Geerdink was arrested in Turkey on suspicion of spreading propaganda for the PKK, a Kurdish organization that is also on the European Union’s terrorism list. She was acquitted. Later that year, she was imprisoned for several days for allegedly entering a restricted area. Turkey eventually deported her. She then went to Iraq and Syria. Her most recent book was published in 2018: Dit vuur dooft nooit: Een jaar bij de PKK.
On Twitter, Geerdink said that she hopes everyone who writes about Kurdistan and Turkey “sharpens” their pens. “They can’t deport and ban us all.”
According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the consul general in Erbil has “close contact” with the journalist. “In contact with the authorities of the region, we expressed our concerns about Geerdink’s deportation,” the spokesperson said.
“We believe that journalists should be able to do their work anywhere in the world, so we have emphasized the importance of press freedom.” The Dutch ambassador in Baghdad also contacted the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs about the matter.