Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury and their Turkish-based Iraqi minder were in Diyarbakir while filming clashes between security forces and youth members of the outlawed and armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to the Turks one of the men was using an encryption system on his personal computer which is often used by the Islamic State death cult.
The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera: “The main issue seems to be that the fixer uses a complex encryption system on his personal computer that a lot of ISIL militants also utilise for strategic communications.”
However Tahir Elci, the head of the Diyarbakir lawyers association, said: “I find it ridiculous that they were taken into custody. I don’t believe there is any accuracy to what they are charged for.
“To me, it seems like an attempt by the government to get international journalists away from the area of conflict.”
Kevin Sutcliffe, Vice head of news programming for Europe, said that the judge “has levelled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ against three Vice News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage.
“Vice News condemns in the strongest possible terms the Turkish government’s attempts to silence our reporters who have been providing vital coverage from the region.