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Details of Turkish journalist’s arrest in Saudi Arabia unveiled

Details of Turkish journalist's arrest in Saudi Arabia unveiled A picture of Turkish journalist Kurtulus Demirbas, in a stadium. (Photo obtained via Newsroom)
By Mustafa Cuhadar
Jul 10, 2024 10:35 PM

Turkish journalist Kurtulus Demirbas, who traveled to Saudi Arabia to cover U19 football matches, has reportedly been detained and missing since July 6. The mystery behind the arrest was unraveled.

According to reports, Demirbas, working as a cameraman, was detained in Saudi Arabia while on his way to cover the matches. The detention is reportedly due to statements he made regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who was a US-based Saudi journalist.

Khashoggi, a critic of the government, was assassinated on Oct. 2, 2018, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, by operatives of the Saudi Arabian government.

What happened to Demirbas?

Türkiye Today staff contacted the Turkish journalist’s close associates and uncovered details about how Demirbas was taken into custody.

Born in 1981, Demirbas lives in Ankara and works as a freelance cameraman. In Saudi Arabia, he worked on behalf of Vego Production Company. He was in Saudi Arabia for an assignment to cover U19 football matches

Turkish journalist Demirbas had finished his work on July 5 and was chatting with the local people present while packing his belongings in a room devoted for the cameramen, according to sources reached by Türkiye Today. However, he had difficulty expressing himself because he could not fluently speak English. During the conversation, when the subject of Khashoggi’s murder came up, Demirbas was unable to express himself in English and showed a photograph of Khashoggi.

Details of Turkish journalist's arrest in Saudi Arabia unveiled
Photo of Kurtulus Dermibas (L) and his wife Pinar Demirbas (R) detained in Saudi Arabia, July 10, 2024. (Photo obtained via Newsroom)

His passport and belongings returned

Meanwhile, one of the Saudi paramedics who was there and witnessed the conversation went out and came back in with a Saudi police officer. At this point, the officer detained the Turkish journalist.

While Saudi authorities returned Demirbas’ passport and other belongings, his teammates, surprised by the situation, were unable to intervene. And there has been no information about Demirbas’ whereabouts or detention since his arrest.

Demirbas is not very active on social media and does not talk much about political topics such as Khashoggi’s murder, say sources close to him. However, while in Saudi Arabia, he is said to have tried to express himself at the wrong time and place.

‘We officially requested information’: Foreign Ministry

Pinar Demirbas, the wife of the Turkish journalist Kurtulus Demirbas, has expressed concern over her husband’s disappearance in Saudi Arabia. His wife says that he was detained on July 6, and has not been heard from since.

Pinar reported his detention to the Turkish Consulate in Jeddah and requested urgent assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, fearing for his safety and seeking clarification of their situation. However they could not assist at that moment.

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, information on Demirbas’ whereabouts and the reasons for his detention has been requested from Saudi authorities.

“We have officially requested information from the Saudi authorities without delay. The matter is being closely monitored and the family is being regularly informed,” a ministry official said.

Last Updated:  Jul 11, 2024 11:05 AM