Scotland politics

Natalie McGarry: Turkey experience was 'terrifying'

Natalie McGarry
Image caption Ms McGarry, who was visiting Turkey as part of a delegation, said she was "very pleased" to have landed at Heathrow airport

A Scottish MP who was detained by security forces in Turkey has described the experience as "terrifying".

Natalie McGarry, who represents Glasgow East, was briefly held by authorities near a security checkpoint in the south-east of the country on Thursday.

Her lawyer later confirmed security forces became "alarmed" because she had her mobile phone out at a checkpoint.

He said she was "recording the sound of bombs" from Turkish forces falling on a Kurdish area of Sur in Diyarbakir.

The area is a flashpoint in the conflict between the Turkish government and the country's Kurdish population.

'Forcibly removed'

Ms McGarry, who was visiting Turkey as part of a delegation to the country, revealed she was "very pleased" to have landed at Heathrow airport.

Writing in a series of tweets on Saturday, she said: "I was forcibly removed from the street by a man who pushed me repeatedly and would've hit me but for intervention of younger colleagues.

"I was denied access to an interpreter and taken into a shack behind the demarcation line which was filled with guns."

She said she was "relieved" after an interpreter was allowed in after 45 minutes.

'Absolute admiration'

She continued: "My absolute admiration to fellow delegates who stayed to support me & were increasingly worried by the shouting & swearing.

"Thank you also to the British Embassy who acted so swiftly to help secure my release. And everyone locally who was contacted & put pressure.

"Thanks also to the Kurdish population of Sur who came to welcome me out and hugged me when I cried. And they brought me chai and thanks."

Ms McGarry added: "I freely admit to crying when I was released. It was a terrifying experience albeit it only lasted a couple of hours.

"I cannot imagine if life was a constant struggle of fear like that everyday which is why Turkey's Nato partners need to demand it stop."

Ms McGarry sits as an independent MP. She withdrew from the SNP whip at Westminster in November after the Women for Independence group called in police over allegations that campaign funds appeared to have gone missing. She has denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, the MP was involved in a high-profile Twitter spat with Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

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