A blogger with dual Israeli-US citizenship was detained in Turkey Saturday while reporting on Syria near the border in the Kurdish region.
Roee Ruttenberg, 34, is a writer for the leftist English-language blog +972Mag. He said Turkish police appeared to be concerned he was documenting Turkish military activities in the area. Ankara has long had struggles with separatist Kurdish extremists in an eastern region near the northern Syrian border.
"I am writing this from a Turkish police center in Ceylanpinar,” Ruttenberg wrote in his post on Saturday, apparently using his iPhone. “Located in eastern Turkey along the border with Syria, it is in Urfa province and it's (sic) population is mostly ethnic Kurdish.”
He added that police seemed to be confused about his dual citizenship, and mentioned his “Israeli” identity numerous times while talking among themselves.
Ruttenberg was accompanied by two Turkish nationals, a sound man and a photographer, in his crew, observing a Syrian village from a rooftop in an area in the ethnic Kurdish region of Turkey. Their gear was confiscated by police, who checked the equipment over carefully to see if any classified material had been filmed.
Syrian refugees have been fleeing to unofficial border crossings all over the country as they try to escape the massacres perpetrated by President Bashar al-Assad's troops. On the Turkish border with northern Syria, hundreds of civilians have been gathering in the province of Idlib, waiting to cross into Turkey as government forces escalate a military campaign to recapture the rebel strongholds in the northern city of Aleppo.
It was in Idlib province that New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid scribbled his final notes and died trying to escape on horseback through the border toTurkey. Shadid, it turned out, was allergic to horses and died as the result of a severe asthma attack.
Ruttenberg was released from custody at 4:00 a.m. Sunday, according to a note posted on the blog's website, but as of 11:00 a.m. there were no further updates from the journalist or the editors.
One female reader commenting on Ruttenberg's report urged the journalist to be “a good Jewish boy and thank them for their hospitality,” since police had brought him food when the Ramadan fast ended.