MEDIA

Turkish Court Acquits Dutch Journalist Of Terrorism Propaganda Charge

Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink answers journalists' questions as she leaves Diyarbakir courthouse on April 8, 2015, in D
Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink answers journalists' questions as she leaves Diyarbakir courthouse on April 8, 2015, in Diyarbakir. Prosecutors accuse Geerdink of spreading terrorist propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Geerdink, who specializes in covering Kurdish issues and has since 2013 been based in Turkeys most populous Kurdish city, Diyarbakir, denies the charges. AFP PHOTO/ILYAS AKENGIN (Photo credit should read ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP/Getty Images)

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) -- A Dutch journalist tried on a charge of disseminating "terrorist propaganda" was acquitted by a Turkish court on Monday.

Frederike Geerdink's brief detention in January prompted an outcry from rights groups and a protest by the Dutch foreign minister, while deepening fears about the erosion of press freedom under President Tayyip Erdogan.

A freelance journalist based in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, she was accused of posting messages on social media in favor of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Geerdink's acquittal had been expected following a surprise call last week by the prosecutor in the case to drop charges against her, citing a lack of evidence.

The panel of three judges announced their ruling in line with that recommendation at a hearing on Monday.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Daren Butler and Alison Williams