Dutch journalist who criticized Turkey’s Erdogan, can’t leave country; Embassy email orders reports on insults

Special to WorldTribune.com

Turkey is continuing its all-out assault on anyone who insults its thin-skinned president.

In the latest incident, a Dutch journalist who referred to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator” was detained while on holiday in Turkey and now is being prevented from leaving the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Reuters

Columnist Ebru Umar, who is of Turkish descent and has been an outspoken critic of Erdogan, tweeted on April 24 that she had been released from custody but was not allowed to leave Turkey.

Meanwhile, Ankara’s consulate in the Netherlands has requested that Turkish organizations in the country report on any derogatory statements made about Erdogan, according to reports by The Washington Post.

“We ask urgently for the names and written comments of people who have given derogatory, disparaging, hateful and defamatory statements against the Turkish president, Turkey and Turkish society in general,” read an email from the embassy, according to a BBC translation.

A Dutch foreign ministry spokesman said of Umar’s detention: “We are aware of this and we are following the situation closely. We are in contact with her.”

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail. Since Edogan became president in 2014, prosecutors have opened more than 1,800 cases against people for insulting him.

Erdogan earlier this month demanded that Germany press charges against comedian Jan Boehmermann after he recited a poem about the Turkish leader in a show on another public broadcaster, ZDF, suggesting he beats little girls, watches child pornography and engages in bestiality.

Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to allow prosecutors to pursue the case against Boehmermann under a section of the German criminal code that prohibits insults against foreign leaders but leaves it to the government to decide whether to authorize such cases.