Turkish police have detained journalist Emrullah Acar, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency, in an early morning raid in southeastern Şanlıurfa province, the agency reported on Friday.
According to the report, Acar was detained as part of an investigation launched by the Malatya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on allegations of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
The journalist’s computer and camera were seized during the raid, the report said.
Acar is expected to be transported from the Urfa Police Department to Malatya, according to Mezopotamya.
Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink announced the development on social media late on Friday, using the hashtag #journalismisnotacrime.
Following a coup attempt in July 2016 that claimed the lives of more than 250 civilians, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government intensified its crackdown on media outlets and journalists critical of it under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
Turkey, which has dropped precipitously since it was ranked 100th among 139 countries when the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published its first worldwide index in 2002, when the AKP government came to power, was ranked 153rd out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.
According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 167 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.