Mesopotamia news agency (MA)’s editor-in-chief Diren Yurtsever was threatened, insulted and forced to pose with a Turkish flag after her arrest on Tuesday, MA quoted her lawyers as reporting.
Yurtsever and 10 other journalists from MA and the all-women Jin news agency, two of Turkey’s few Kurdish-centred media outlets, were arrested in dawn raids on Tuesday.
Prosecutors prevented their lawyers from accessing the journalists or any records related to the arrests until Wednesday afternoon, when Yurtsever was able to reveal their treatment under arrest.
The MA chief editor told her lawyers she had been subjected to humiliating treatment under detention including being pressurised to pose with a Turkish flag.
“Books, magazines and Yeni Yaşam Newspaper were seized as evidence from my home during the raid,” said Yurtsever.
Yurtsever said police had placed a metaphorical target on her back by telling neighbours that “terrorists” lived at her address during her arrest.
She also said she had faced sexist insults from police officers on the way to the Istanbul police headquarters, MA reported.
The ordeal continued once Yurtsever had arrived at the station and was taken for a medical check, at which point she reportedly told the doctor she had been subjected to psychological torture.
At that point, the journalist told her lawyers, a police officer had told her that “if the physical torture begins now, you will see what torture is.”
“They wanted to take my picture handcuffed in front of a Turkish flag. When I did not accept this imposition, they tried to force me to do so saying that this was the normal procedure,” MA quoted Yurtsever as saying.
“But I know there is no such procedure, so they had to take my picture in front of a wall without the flag,” she said.
Turkish media reported that the journalists were arrested in what they called anti-terror operations. The arrests come a week after Turkey’s parliament adopted new anti-disinformation legislation that critics fear will be used to silent critical voices in the country’s media.