Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

Istanbul/Amsterdam — Turkey says it deported a reporter for Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad on Thursday, after receiving 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 his Twitter account.

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.

“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 government agency tells you that one of their citizens has links to terrorism, you don’t take any chances,” he added on Twitter.

The Dutch foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the public prosecutor’s office couldn’t be reached immediately. Boersma did not 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 organisation, and that Turkey would not speculate about 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 2018 that at least 68 were jailed for their work in the country, while dozens more had been jailed and released, or face criminal prosecution.

Bloomberg