New York Times (NYT) reporter Rod Nordland was deported from Turkey on Tuesday, after Turkish officials took issue with several articles he had written about the Kurdish insurgency.
Border police detained the veteran Times correspondent in Istanbul. He was then deported to London.
Turkish authorities had expressed annoyance over some of Nordland’s articles, from November and December. They took particular issue with one, which described the calamitous situation in Diyarbakir.
The city is the Kurds’ cultural capital and a former stronghold of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The article described the Aleppo-like landscape in the Sur District, four months after the PKK and the military ceased fighting.
Mahmut, a Kurdish manager, told Nordland that the Kurds had lost all hope as a result of the government’s ongoing crackdown. “They don’t want any democratic space for anyone, they destroyed every peaceful means and our young people, they have no other solution, they’re going to the mountains.”
“They cannot discipline us by taking our bread from our hands,” the manager declared. “We want our collective rights.”
Nodland also reported that after Turkey’s failed military coup in July —which had nothing to do with Kurds— “the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and used those powers to greatly increase arrests of mainstream politicians, especially in Diyarbakir.”
On Tuesday, Turkish prosecutors demanded 142 years of imprisonment for Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The prosecutors are also seeking 83 years for the party’s other chair, Figen Yüksekdağ.
In recent months, at least 81 local journalists have been jailed, and several foreign journalists have been harassed, detained, or expelled from Turkey, including a reporter from the Wall Street Journal in January.
“The Turkish government’s action is an affront to freedom of the press and an effort to keep the world from having access to independent reporting from Turkey,” declared Dean Baquet, the Times’ executive editor.
“Rod is a veteran correspondent who has done groundbreaking journalism from around the world,” he added. “There was no justification for today’s action. The Times remains committed to covering Turkey fairly, accurately and fully.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg