The Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande has been in jail in Turkey since April 9. According to reports in the media he was arrested as he was interviewing refugees on the border between Syria and Turkey. Rome has called on Ankara to release the 34-year-old. So far Del Grande hasn't been formally charged with anything. The Italian press explains what it sees as the reasons for his arrest.
Erdoğan suspects plots everywhere
In Roberto Saviano's view the arrest of Gabriele Del Grande is part of a carefully thought out strategy, as he explains in La Repubblica:
“As far as Erdoğan is concerned a press that is not under his control is inevitably a press that has been paid off by others and thus manipulated: the state has the right to control and censor that press to protect its image - that's how the regime sees it. With this behaviour Turkey is not only distancing itself from the Europe of the rule of law, it is also adopting a new authoritarian approach that could be copied by all the populist forces in this world. In this approach all independent coverage that has not been negotiated with the authorities is an attack driven by a powerful group - the West, the Jews, the Stonemasons or whichever bogus enemy suits the purpose of the moment. There is always some plot that can be used to justify the arrests: hundreds of journalists, authors and opposition members locked away in Ankara's prisons are paying the price for this.”
Europe must defend press freedom in Turkey
The journalist must be released immediately, Corriere della Sera demands:
“Del Grande has been dealing for years with the complex issue of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. He boldly showed the victims of this tragedy and the abuses of human rights. In 2013 he made a documentary about the Syrian war. His current project was a report on the situation of Syrian refugees on the Turkish border. It is reprehensible and unacceptable that he has been kept in custody for several days without any explanation. Freedom of thought and expression are at stake. … A large section of the Turkish people who cannot be lumped together with Erdoğan needs Europe's solidarity. The relations must not be broken off. Mobilisation for Del Grande's immediate release must go hand in hand with a strong and resolute defence of press freedom and freedom of thought in Turkey.”