Wednesday 16 October 2019

SP councillor arrested in Turkey, suspected of Kurdish terrorist links

A Socialist Party councillor from Eindhoven has been arrested while on holiday in Turkey and accused for having links to terrorism.

Murat Memis, who has been banned from leaving the country, is reportedly suspected of producing propaganda for the Kurdish rebel group PKK. ‘They have decided that I am a member of the PKK on the basis of my tweets,’ Memis told the Volkskrant.

Memis was arrested a month ago while he was at a restaurant and spent four days in jail before being released to live with his family. The news of his arrest has only recently been made public and he has been told not to leave the country while the investigation is ongoing.

Foreign minister Stef Blok said earlier this week he is extremely concerned about the case and has offered consular services to Memis. ‘The case is now up to the judge,’ Blok said.

Kurdish

Memis told the Volkskrant his father was politically active and supported the Kurdish cause. He too has made no secret of his Kurdish roots. His father had left Turkey in 1993 and the family was reunited in the Netherlands in 1999.

In mid May, two weeks after Memis was arrested, the Dutch foreign ministry amended its travel advice for Turkey. The new position warned holidaymakers that their phones and other electronic apparatus can be confiscated if officials think there may be a connection to organisations considered terrorist.

In addition, the authorities have the power to act if people make comments on social media or elsewhere which are considered unacceptable by the government. ‘Take this into account if you are travelling to Turkey,’ the recommendations state.

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