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Dutch Journalist Arrested In Turkey For Criticising Erdogan

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, April 24 (UPI) — A Dutch journalist was detained in Turkey after writing a column allegedly critical of Turkish President Erdogan.

Her newspaper, Dutch Metro, reported journalist Ebru Umar was on vacation in southern Turkey when she was arrested Saturday night and taken into custody in the nearby resort of Kusadasi for questioning, the newspaper said. But she was released Sunday morning after she was arraigned, according to Dutch Metro.

Last week, the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam had urged Turks in the Netherlands to report insults to Turkey or its president. But it withdrew its call after it was criticized by Dutch MPs and Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Umar’s column criticized the president’s clampdown on dissent.

Umar was arrested soon after posting a tweet that the police were at her door around 11 p.m. Turkish time. She later tweeted that she was being taken to a police station.

Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Herman van Gelderen confirmed Umar was detained. “We are aware of it,” he said. “We are in contact and we’re following the case very closely.”

Last week, Umar’s column criticized the Turkish consulate’s appeal to report insults.

She compared the request to “NASB practices,” which was in reference to the Dutch National Socialist Movement, a fascist party modeled on the German Nazi Party.

The Metro newspaper reported that she was “treated well” by police and expects to be arraigned Sunday.

Umar was detained as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union officials were in Turkey attempting to bolster that could stem the flow of migrants to Europe by deterring them from crossing the border from Turkey to Greece.

Merkel also was criticized for approving Turkey’s request to seek prosecution earlier this month of a German comedian who read an allegedly offensive poem about Erdogan.

German and the Netherlands have laws against insulting the head of a friendly state. But both governments have said they plan to change the laws.

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