MEDIA

Dutch Journalist Accused Of 'Terrorist Propaganda' Could Be Jailed For Up To Five Years

In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 photo provided by the Presidential Press Service, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan add
In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 photo provided by the Presidential Press Service, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting at his new palace in Ankara, Turkey. Turkish media reports say a teenager was taken away from his school and detained by police for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Hurriyet newspaper says the 16-year-old high-school student, identified only by his initials M.E.A., was arrested Wednesday in the central city of Konya for making a speech at a student protest a day earlier. The boy reportedly said Erdogan was regarded as the "thieving owner of the illegal palace" in reference to a government corruption scandal as well as a controversial 1,150-room new palace Erdogan inaugurated in October. (AP Photo/Turkish Presidential Press Service)

ANKARA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A Turkish prosecutor formally accused a Dutch journalist of 'terrorist propaganda' on Monday, and asked she be jailed for up to five years, local media reported on Monday, a move that will deepen fears over press freedom in the NATO member state.

Security forces briefly detained freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink last month and raided her home in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish south-east.

The indictment, accepted by a Diyarbakir court, accuses Geerdink of posting messages on social media in favor of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), including a display of the group's flag, according to Hurriyet Daily News (HDNER).

Geerdink has repeatedly taken to social media since her detention to deny the charges.

Her detention sparked an outcry from Turkey's western partners, already concerned at what they see as mounting intolerance to criticism under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey languishes near the bottom of league tables measuring press freedom, though Erdogan insists its media are among the most unfettered in the world.

Geerdink has reported from Turkey since 2006 and focused mainly on Kudish issues, a highly sensitive topic after a decades long insurgency by PKK militants demanding greater autonomy, which has left an estimated 40,000 people dead.

Efforts to bring a permanent end to the bloodshed since a ceasefire in 2012 have stalled in recent months. (Reporting by Jonny Hogg, editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Ralph Boulton)