ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish authorities arrested a German national in southeastern Turkey for allegedly spreading propaganda for Kurdish militants on social media, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
Anadolu, without citing sources, said German national Dennis E. had been detained in the Arsuz district of the southeastern Turkish province of Hatay for spreading propaganda supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on social media.
It said the man, believed to be of Turkish origin, was later arrested. No further details were immediately available and the German foreign ministry had no immediate comment.
The PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state, is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died since it first took up arms in the largely Kurdish southeast.
Relations between Turkey and Germany were strained last year after Turkish authorities held German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in jail, after indicting him for security offences.
Yucel was released in February, removing a key irritant in ties between the two allies, but German officials remain deeply concerned about Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights and freedoms.
Since a 2016 failed coup, more than 150,000 civil servants have been purged and 77,000 people have been charged. Turkey has also launched cross-border operations into Syria against what it says are terrorist threats by the Kurdish YPG militia, which it deems a terrorist organisation linked to the PKK.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the putsch as a pretext to muzzle dissent. The government, however, has said the measures are necessary.