Exiled Turkish journalist, mother of two: I don’t know how I’ll see them again

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Turkish exiled journalist Arzu Yildiz, who escaped her 2016 jail sentence, has not seen her two daughters since then, saying that if she goes back, she will lose her freedom, Turkish news site Ahval reported on Monday.

Yildiz, who used to work for a pro-government news publication in Turkey and supported the ruling Justice and Development Party, now criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was the reason behind her sentencing and exile.

In her interview with The Global Post, in January 2014, Yildiz broke a major story revealing that three Turkish intelligence agency trucks had been stopped and searched in Adana, and had reportedly been delivering weapons to radical groups in Syria.

Erdogan had insisted that the trucks were ferrying aid to Turkmen in Syria, and ordered the arrest of the publication’s editor Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul, who were later jailed in May 2016 for five years for “revealing state secrets.”

Two months later, Yildiz got a 20-month sentence, and lost guardianship of her children who are now eight and three years old.

“I was forced to leave behind my kids, my family,” the news site reported her as saying. “I don’t know when or how or if I will ever see them again.”

“If I go there, I lose my freedom,” she added.

The Committee to Project Journalists had again named Turkey as the world’s leading jailer of journalists last week, putting 73 behind bars in 2017.