German officials meet Die Welt reporter detained in Turkey

Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said Deniz Yucel was doing well, but said he had voiced concerns that he was being kept in prison for political purposes.

Photo by: AFP Archive
Photo by: AFP Archive

Deniz Yuecel.

German officials on Tuesday met for the first time since his incarceration a German-Turkish journalist imprisoned in Istanbul.

Turkey detained Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yucel on charges of producing terrorist propaganda and incitement to hatred. The dual national faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said Yucel was doing well, but said he had voiced concerns that he was being kept in prison for political purposes and had also made calls for his own release.

Roth told reporters that Yucel had met with German Consul General Georg Birgelen and a consulate attorney at Istanbul's Silivri prison.

Roth thanked Turkey for providing access to Yucel, and said Germany expects to be able to continue to send consular officials to meet with him and is working to have him released.

German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth holds a news conference at the German consulate after visiting the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel at Silivri prison in Istanbul, Turkey, April 4, 2017. (Reuters)

Turkey emphasises fairness of judicial system

Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag in March accused his German counterpart of meddling in Turkey’s judicial system in relation to Yucel's case.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas on March 2 raised the detention of the journalist with Turkey. Bozdag said Die Welt’s Istanbul correspondent Yucel had been arrested for spreading terrorist propaganda, not journalism as claimed by Germany.

"Unarguably, the Turkish judiciary is fairer, freer and more impartial than the German judiciary," Bozdag said.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arranged for Tuesday's access to Yucel, according to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Turkey-Germany relations

​Relations between Turkey and Germany have been strained following bans on planned rallies by Ankara's emissaries in Germany to drum up support for Turkey's April 16 referendum on constitutional change.

There was further sniping between the two governments last week, after German officials revealed that Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) had provided them a list of suspected supporters of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara believes masterminded last year's failed coup.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed as "unethical" Germany's refusal to aid in tracking down those the government says are responsible for the attempted putsch.

TRTWorld and agencies