Kurdish journalist arrested in European capital “on Turkey’s request”

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Kurdish journalist and member of the European Federation of Journalists Maxime Azadi was arrested in Brussels on Tuesday at the request of the Turkish authorities. Photo: Azadi's Facebook account

ARA News

Brussels – The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on Tuesday said that the Kurdish journalist Maxime Azadi was arrested in Brussels three days ago by Interpol on Turkey’s request.

“And so Belgium proceeds to arrest French-Kurdish journalist at the request of the Turkish authorities,” Ricardo Gutiérrez, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists, said on Tuesday.

Maxime Azadi has been working in Brussels since 2000, and writes for the pro-Kurdish agency Firat News (ANF) which is banned in Turkey ‘for security reasons’. According to Western media the news agency is allied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Moreover, he writes for the French media organization Mediapart and is the founder of the Kurdish news website Actukurde.

“Maxime Azadi was not aware of the arrest warrant against him,” a member of ANF in Amsterdam told the Belgiam news website BRUZZ. “Thursday we will look at the case with a lawyer,” he said.

Heavy fighting re-erupted in Turkey after a two-year-old unilateral ceasefire ended in July 2015. Now the PKK and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) are being targeted in a fierce Turkish security crackdown, following the botched July 2016 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Most MPs of the pro-Kurdish HDP party are now in prison, after the Turkish parliament lifted the immunity, resulting in an arrest campaign targeting Kurds.

European countries have criticized the crackdown on Kurdish politicians and the imprisonment of many journalists and activists, which raised anger in Turkey.

Turkey is now trying to put more pressure on Europe to also crackdown on Kurdish organizations close to the PKK. Moreover, Germany has arrested a 31-year-old Turkish citizen suspected of planning assassinations and collecting information against Kurds in Europe.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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