Austria demands immediate release of detained journalist

The Austrian government on Wednesday demanded Turkey release a journalist taken into police custody in Ankara Tuesday unless a reason is given for his detention, independent news site Bianet reported.

Max Zirngast, a journalist who writes for publications such as Re:volt and Jacobin magazines and is one of the authors of “Siege of Kobane” published in Germany in 2015, was detained by anti-terror teams on Tuesday morning.

“Austria sides with freedom of press and expression. We are providing support to our detained citizen via the Austrian Embassy,” Austrian Government Spokesperson Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said in a statement.  

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also called for release of Zirngast, stressing that Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries as of 2018 in World Press Freedom Index.

Since the country’s July 2016 coup attempt, Turkish authorities have been cracking down on media workers they claim support or have ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group which has been at war in in Turkey for over 30 years, and the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.