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Swedish woman released after Turkey protest

A Swedish woman arrested during demonstrations on Istanbul's Taksim Square on Saurday has been released by Turkish police.

Swedish woman released after Turkey protest

The woman was arrested on Friday and taken to Vatan police station in Istanbul where she remained until her release on Monday.

According to a Turkish news report, the woman – who is a journalism student and had travelled to Turkey for a vacation – was alleged to have insulted the hard-pressed Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The 24-year-old however argued that she couldn’t possibly have chanted the slogans, in Turkish with another group of demonstrators, as she can’t speak the language.

The Swede’s lawyer Burak Meng├╝ told the Hurriyet Daily News that his client is a journalism student at Stockholm University and was in Istanbul to observe the protests which began on May 28th following the break up of a peaceful protest to protect nearby Gezi Park.

Thousands returned to the square on Saturday evening to demand justice for a demonstrator who was killed by police fire.

The protests have continued into July and are now a regular feature of several Turkish cities, including the capital Ankara despite police crackdowns and warnings from the government.

According to the interior ministry some 2.5 million people took part during the first three weeks of the protests.

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TURKEY

Turkish government accused of trying to silence critics with arrest of Swedish writer

Charges against a Swedish-Turkish writer who was arrested while holidaying in Spain are an attempt by the Turkish government to silence its critics, non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claims.

Turkish government accused of trying to silence critics with arrest of Swedish writer
File photo not related to the story. Photo: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Hamza Yalcin was arrested on Tuesday in Barcelona following the issue of an international arrest warrant from Turkey, who accuse him of organizing terrorist acts.

Since moving to Sweden in 1984, Yalcin has written for regime-critical newspaper Odak Dergisi, who according to RSF has angered President Erdogan in Ankara.

“This is an attempt from Erdogan to extend his power outside of the country's borders. He wants to show that he can reach critical voices even if they do not exist in the country. It's an abuse of international police cooperation that risks having major consequences,” RSF Sweden president Jonathan Lundqvist said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Swedish writer wanted by Turkey arrested in Spain

The organization insists that Spanish authorities should dismiss the Turkish accusations and release the 59-year-old to travel home to Sweden.

If he is sent to Turkey then he risks being tried along with over 100 other journalists who the Turkish government has accused of similar crimes, according to RSF. Turkey is ranked 155 out of the 180 countries in the RSF's Press Freedom Index.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry (UD) has asked to meet Yalcin.

“We want to have consular access, and both our embassy in Madrid and our consulate in Barcelona are in contact with the Spanish authorities and have asked for consular access,” UD communications officer Gunnar Vrang told TT.

Yalcin is the second Swedish national to be arrested on Turkey's orders in less then a month. Sweden's Foreign Minister criticized Turkey in July after IT consultant Ali Gharavi was jailed in the country along with several human rights activists for allegedly aiding a terror group. The Swedish government understood that he was there to attend a seminar about freedom of the internet.

READ ALSO: Sweden slams Turkey for jailing activist