Turkish authorities reportedly arrest German Kurd for social media posts

"We assume she fell victim to a denunciation due to posts on social media [Facebook]."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A member of the Kurdish Community in Germany (KGD) was arrested on Thursday morning in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir (Amed).

In a letter to the German Foreign Ministry, the KGD confirmed the arrest of Nebahat Yildirim, who was detained at the Diyarbakir airport on her way back to Germany.

The KGD was one of the organizations that held a massive pro-independence referendum festival in Germany in August 2017.

The organization receives financial support from the German government, and some of its members are MPs in the German Parliament.

Yildirim is a teacher who lives with her family in Hamburg and also has German citizenship.

According to the KGD, Yildirim flew from Hannover to Diyarbakir two weeks ago to visit her relatives. Witnesses said Turkish police detained her on Thursday when she wanted to travel back to Germany.

According to a lawyer who was informed about Yildirim’s case, Yildirim has an arrest warrant from Ankara and will most likely face trial in Ankara.

“Ms. Yildirim is not politically active. We assume she fell victim to a denunciation due to posts on social media [Facebook],” the KGD said.

The KGD asked the German government to help Yildrim “through consular support.”

Polla Garmiany, a political analyst based in the European Union, told Kurdistan 24 that Kurds have gotten used to Turkey’s arrest campaigns against local Kurdish activists, which “in itself is horrible.”

“But Ms. Yildirim, like many others who got detained in Turkey, is a German citizen. She was arrested on the same day [in] which Germany’s interior minister met with Turkish authorities in Ankara. Why is the German government so silent?”

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is currently in Turkey for talks on migration with his French counterpart Christophe Castaner and EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

In early September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to send millions of refugees to Europe by “opening the gates.”

Mehmet Tanriverdi, co-leader of the KGD, claimed that Germany has let “itself get extorted again by Turkey.”

There are several other German citizens held in Turkish prisons since a crackdown on the opposition and Kurds began in the aftermath of the mid-2016 failed coup.

German-Kurdish singer Hozan Cane was sentenced to six years and three months in jail in November 2018 over charges of “being a member in a terrorist organization.”

On Sept. 10, her daughter Gonul Ors was also arrested when she tried to cross the border into Greece “illegally.”

This week, a petition was launched for Cane and her daughter to press the German government to do more to pressure Turkey to release them.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany