Ex-British soldier detained in Turkey for pro-YPG Facebook posts

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Robinson (right) with other foreign fighters in Tal Abyad, Syria. Photograph: Facebook

Joe Robinson, a former British soldier who fought against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), was arrested while on holiday in Turkey for sharing pro-YPG posts on his Facebook account.

According to a story by BBC News on Saturday, Robinson was detained along with his Bulgarian fiancée Mira Rojkan and her mother in a police raid in the western holiday resort of Didim on Tuesday. Police seized their mobile phones, computer and other digital devices.

While his fiancée and her mother were ultimately released from custody, Robinson was arrested over his posts on Facebook.

Robinson had returned to his home in Leeds in last November after spending five months fighting with the YPG against ISIL.

Although the YPG is not an outlawed group in the UK, Turkey views it as the extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated a terrorist group by the EU as well as the US.

Robinson’s mother Sharon Chimejczuk told the BBC: “I just want my son home safe.”

“He has done nothing but help innocent civilians. His whole family are concerned for his well being and urge the British authorities to help bring him home.”

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman told BBC: “We are aware of the detention of a British national in Turkey and have requested consular access.”

Mark Campbell from the UK-based Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign also told BBC, “Unfortunately, Joe has gone on holiday to Turkey not realizing the kind of state it has now become.

“Turkey continues to criminalize the Kurdish question and has jailed tens of thousands of Kurdish people, including elected MPs and mayors, simply for peacefully campaigning for Kurdish rights,” he added.

Robinson with his fiancee Mira.

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