ISTANBUL: Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ) has condemned the detention and deportation of Dutch journalist Johanna Cornelia Boersma aka Ans Boersma, who was held on January 16 at the Bakirkoy Ikametgah office on an “ungrounded” accusation of terror links.
She was deported on January 17.
Ans serves as the economy editor at Het Financieele Dagblad, a leading financial paper in the Netherlands, is a member of the CFWIJ and a former fellow of the mentorship programme. She has been largely covering an economic beat and occasionally humanitarian stories in the country.
The journalist had acquired her Turkish press card just a week ago and had been actively working in the country since early 2017.
CFWIJ Director Kiran Nazish, who was there with Ans during the detention to aid with legal help and co-ordination said, “After thoroughly going through the documents and coordinating with the police, it seems that the reason of Ans’s deportation has no solid grounds. This incident has disrupted her ability to work in a country Ans dearly cares about and has worked thoroughly to gain expertise and connections in.”
“During the time I have mentored Ans, I have seen her work extra hard to learn about the economic difficulties the country faces. I believe her reporting on this has contributed to a better understanding and kinder perspective about the country,” she added.
Ans was stopped by Turkish police early morning on Wednesday. At the time, she was visiting the Immigration Service to get her residence permit extended.
She was told that she was being expelled from the country for security reasons; however, no further details were given by the authorities.
The CFWIJ believes that Ans was unfairly arrested and deported and the Turkish authorities should reveal more information to the press.
“I’ve been working with Ans as a fixer and a translator for more than a year. She’s very sweet, and she’s very careful about what she writes. She always cares about the facts, she never writes manipulative stuff,” said Hilal Sari, a local financial journalist and Ans’s colleague.
“I don’t think anyone could say anything negative about her. It is scary that a journalist can be deported without any clarified reason.”
Colleagues and members of the Dutch trade union for journalists (NVJ) arranged a lawyer for her. Despite the involvement of the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul, the deportation could not be delayed or cancelled.
Ans was not allowed to visit her home or collect any of her belongings before she was escorted to the airport.
“We request the Turkish government to cooperate with the journalists working in their country. We also advise that a system of protection for journalists, or an ombudsman, needs to be formed, that especially focuses on offering legal correspondence to foreign and especially women journalists,” CFWIJ said in a statement.