Turkish Ambassador summoned by Germany over jailed German-Turkish journalist

EPA / CLEMENS BILAN

The hashtag '#freedeniz' is displayed on top of the Axel Springer building in Berlin, Germany, 28 February 2017.

“German-Turkey relations are facing one of their greatest challenges of the modern era,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated


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The Ankara ambassador has been summoned by Berlin on Tuesday in order to protest the arrest in Turkey of Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish correspondent for Die Welt.

According to his lawyer, Yücel is currently facing ½ to 10 years in prison for the accusations of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting public violence, Reuters reports.

Yücel was first detained on 14 February after an extensive crackdown in Turkey, resulting from a failed coup from back in July of this year. On Monday, the Turkish court ordered him incarcerated during the wait for his trial.

During Turkey’s investigation on Yücel’s case, his ties to a leftist hacker group have been put into question which had obtained e-mails from Turkey’s energy minister, who also is Erdogan’s son-in-law, and questions about his 2015 interview with Cemil Bayik were also asked, Yücel’s lawyer stated.

With demonstrations taking place across the German-speaking Europe because of Yücel’s confinement, the tensions between the two NATO allies are steadily boiling. Their relationship was already quite strained after other post-coup arrests had occurred, as well as due to a federal probe into the possibility of Turkish clerics spying in Germany.

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has also spoken out about the situation, calling it “disappointing” and “disproportionate”, and promised insistence for a “fair and legal treatment” for Yücel.

The Axel Springer media group, which owns Die Welt, the newspaper Yüzel is working for, has also shown their solidarity for their journalist by mounting a huge #FreeDeniz sign on its building in Berlin. Protests asking for Yüzel’s release have been taking place in 10 German cities, as well as in both Switzerland and Austria.

In a statement, the German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that “With respect to visits by Turkish politicians in Germany, it is clear that those who want to benefit from freedom of speech here should also safeguard the rule of law and freedom of the press at home.”

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