Turkey Deports Dutch Journalist for Alleged Ties to Al-Nusra

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey deported a reporter for the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad on Thursday after it said it received intelligence from the Netherlands that she had ties to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

The deportation of Johanna Cornelia Boersma was a precautionary measure after the Netherlands informed Turkey of her alleged links to the Islamist extremist group, Fahrettin Altun, communications director for the Turkish presidency, said on Twitter.

The Netherlands had requested information from the Turkish authorities in a wider terrorism investigation, a spokeswoman for the Dutch public prosecutors office said by phone. As part of the request, information about Boersma was exchanged with Turkey, she said.

Boersma had received an official press permit from the Turkish government last week, and was apprehended during a visit to immigration services in Istanbul to renew her residence permit on Wednesday, her newspaper reported on Thursday. Boersma and the paper will fight the deportation from the Netherlands, it said.

Boersma’s paper said in a statement that her expulsion may be related to a relationship she had with a Syrian who was arrested last year because he was a member of the terror organization Jabhat al-Nusra.

Information Shared

“Rest assured that Ms. Boersma’s deportation was in no way related to her journalistic activities during her stay in Turkey,” Altun said in an earlier e-mailed statement. “If a credible foreign gov’t agency tells you that one of their citizens has links to terrorism, you don’t take any chances,” he added on Twitter.

The Dutch prosecutor didn’t disclose what information was shared with Turkish authorities. Its spokeswoman confirmed that Boersma was suspected of something other than terrorism, declining to specify. The Netherlands didn’t ask for Boersma’s extradition, she added.

The Dutch foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, and Boersma didn’t pick up calls placed to her Turkish number on Thursday, or respond to text messages.

Altun said it would be up to Dutch authorities to explain why they arrived at the conclusion that the reporter was connected to a terrorist organization, and that Turkey won’t speculate on the credibility of their information.

Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said at the end of last year that at least 68 were jailed for their work in the country, while dozens more had been jailed and released, or face criminal prosecution.

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