Mathias Depardon arrested in Turkey

French photographer Mathias Depardon has been arrested in South East Turkey, according to Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkish representative for the Reporters Without Borders NGO.
Önderoğlu tweeted on 10 May that Depardon had been taken into custody after taking pictures of the ancient city of Hasankeyf and the Euphrates river; he added shortly afterwards that Depardon had been detained for 35 hours then transferred to the Immigration Administration [a migration centre], and had two cameras confiscated.
On 10 May Önderoğlu tweeted with an update, stating that Depardon “faces ‘deport’ or ‘administrative detention’ at MigrationCenter (Lawyer)”. It is believed that Depardon was shooting on assignment for National Geographic – which was tagged in Önderoğlu’s first tweet.
Önderoğlu was himself was placed under pre-trial arrest in June 2016, along with Ahmet Nesin and academic Sebnem Korur Fincanci, over charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda”, after participating in a solidarity campaign supporting Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish publication, according to a report published on 21 June 2016 by The Guardian.
The Stockholm Center for Freedom has detailed numerous other recent journalist arrests in its report on Depardon’s detention today – including the detention of Gabriele del Grande on 09 April, “detained during a security check in the souther province of Hatay”. SCF states that del Grande had been interviewing Syrian refugees for a book he is writing about the current war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and that he was released by a Turkish court on 25 April.
“Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 237 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction,” the SCF report concludes. “Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons.
“An outstanding detention warrants [sic] remain for 100 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey. Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt.”
Born in 1980 in France, Mathias Depardon was raised in France, Belgium and the USA, and briefly joined the Belgian national newspaper Le Soir after studying communication and journalism in Brussels. Subsequently devoting himself to reportage and feature work, he went on to win the Laureate of the Bourse du Talent in 2011 for his report Beyond The Border, a story on refugees in Greece.
Now based in Istanbul, Mathias is regularly published and commissioned by leading titles such as Le Monde Magazine, Monocle, Elle, Internazionale, The Sunday Times Magazine and Foreign Policy, and is distributed by Institute. His project on Baku, Tales from the Land of Fire, was published by BJP last year.

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is the editor of BJP, returning for a second stint on staff in 2023 - after 15 years on the team until 2019. As a freelancer, she has written for The Guardian, FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, Aperture, FOAM, Aesthetica and Apollo. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy