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Journalists’ association demands immediate release of detained Turkish reporter in Saudi Arabia

Journalists' association demands immediate release of detained Turkish reporter in Saudi Arabia Photo of Kurtulus Dermibas (L) and his wife Pinar Demirbas (R) detained in Saudi Arabia, July 10, 2024. (Photo obtained via Newsroom)
By Newsroom
Jul 10, 2024 4:25 PM

Kurtulus Demirbas, a journalist who traveled to Saudi Arabia to cover U19 soccer matches, has been missing since July 6 after he was reportedly detained.

The Association of Journalists of Türkiye made a statement on the issue. In the statement, it was underlined that Demirbas’ relatives and colleagues could not reach him and that there is concern for Demirbas’ safety.

The statement from the Association is as follows: “Cameraman Kurtulus Demirbas was detained in Saudi Arabia, where he was on assignment to cover U19 soccer matches, due to some of his statements regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Demirbas’ family and friends are unable to reach our colleague. We are concerned for the safety of Kurtulus Demirbas. We condemn Saudi Arabia’s detention of our colleague. We call for the immediate release of our colleague. We ask the government to take the necessary diplomatic initiatives and provide legal assistance for Kurtulus Demirbas.”

It is reported that Demirbas’ recent comments on the murder of journalist Khashoggi were the reason behind his detention. The Foreign Ministry is working to clarify the situation and ensure Demirbas’ safe return.

Who is Demirbas?

Demirbas, born in Sinop in 1981 and residing in Ankara, is a Turkish cameraman. He was detained in Saudi Arabia while on assignment to cover U19 soccer matches and has not been heard from since July 6. Türkiye has requested information from Saudi Arabian authorities and is closely monitoring the situation.

Demirbas’ wife Pinar Demirbas stated that she was worried for her husband’s safety and said, “They refused to return my husband’s personal belongings and passport. Instead, they sent them to Türkiye with his friends. Later, after his teammates arrived in Türkiye, I spoke with them. They couldn’t provide much information; they only recounted what happened. Neither I nor his friends received any details about my husband. It has been several days since I last heard from him. Who took my husband, and what is their intent?”

Last Updated:  Jul 11, 2024 8:17 AM