Why a Wall Street Journal reporter was detained in Turkey
Dion Nissenbaum, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, writes about why he was detained in Turkey for two-and-a-half days.
Nissenbaum writes, “Three days before Christmas, Islamic State released a gruesome 19-minute video that showed two men whom the jihadist group said were captured Turkish soldiers being burned to death. It instantly struck me as major news, likely to trigger a storm of outrage in Turkey. As I began to report on it, I retweeted a still image from the video that showed the shackled men in their military fatigues as the flames crept toward them.
“My retweet set off a torrent of Twitter rage. ‘Do not forget this son of a whore’s face Istanbul,’ one man wrote above a screenshot of my profile picture. The editor of a prominent pro-Erdogan newspaper (who has 72,000 Twitter followers) called for me to be deported. Angry Turkish nationalists accused anyone who spread the story of helping to promote Islamic State’s twisted agenda. Within minutes, I undid the retweet, but the damage was done.
“Mr. Erdogan’s office called the Journal’s Turkey bureau chief, Margaret Coker, to express outrage about my retweet and to warn that there could be consequences. The Turkish government tried to keep the story of the video under wraps and throttled Twitter in Turkey for days to keep it from spreading. (Turkish officials haven’t confirmed if the men killed in the video were Turkish soldiers.)
“The morning after Islamic State released the video, in a WhatsApp group chat set up by Mr. Erdogan’s office for foreign journalists covering Turkey, someone asked if there were any restrictions on discussing it. ‘Just one,’ the president’s spokesman wrote us. ‘If you publish the footage or images from the video, there is a good chance we will take action.'”
Read more here.