ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish police have arrested an Austrian journalist, Max Zirngast, over charges of "terrorism," two left-leaning online outlets he writes for said on Sunday.
The Austrian Re:volt and American Jacobin magazines announced that a force from the anti-terror police at the Turkish capital Ankara raided the apartment where Zirngast was residing early in the morning.
"Accusation, of course, Terror! Turkey is trying to suppress all resisting voices. It will not succeed," Re:volt wrote in condemnation of the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding there were others arrested without specifying who else.
Zirngast's arrest, if prolonged, could become yet another contentious issue between the NATO member country and its Western allies.
There was no official statement from the Turkish authorities.
Austrian government spokesman, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, on Twitter urged Ankara to present the reasons for its citizen's arrest and release him immediately.
"Austria unconditionally stands with the press and freedom of opinion," he said, adding that the Austrian embassy was providing the journalist with consular assistance.
Press watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) also called on Turkish authorities to free Zirngast.
Turkey ranks 157 among 180 nations listed in the 2018 World Press Freedom by the RSF.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which Turkey is a party to, also condemned the arrest.
"I strongly condemn [the] detention of Austrian journalist Max Zirngast today in Turkey. He was reportedly arrested on terror-related charges for articles he had written. Journalists must not be prosecuted because of their professional work. I urge authorities to release him," OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, said.
His publishers said the author had lived in Turkey for many years and had been writing for various German, English and Turkish-language publications about the Kurds, the state of politics in Turkey, and Erdogan's rising authoritarianism.
"As Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s despotic government tries to stabilize its dominance, the remaining voices, organizations, and people that oppose him are under extreme pressure. It is critical for the struggle for democracy and freedom in Turkey that Erdogan not succeed," Jacobin wrote.
Since a failed coup attempt in mid-2016 to overthrow Erdogan, at least 160 journalists, among them Kurdish, Turkish, and foreigners, have been arrested, tried and sentenced to varying jail times over accusations of supporting terrorism and separatism.
Editing by Nadia Riva