The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Play Video

The New Arab & agencies

Jailed German journalist in Turkey released, pending trial

Protesters gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Berlin [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 February, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel is being released pending trial, but could face up to 18 years in jail if convicted on "engaging in terrorist propaganda".
A German journalist is being conditionally released from a Turkish prison pending trial, one year after he was detained on charges of "engaging in terrorist propaganda".

"Finally, a decision has been made to free my client Deniz Yucel," his lawyer Veysal Ok, said on Twitter. Germany's foreign minister also welcomed the decision. "I expressly thank the Turkish government for its support in accelerating the legal proceedings," said Sigmar Gabriel.

But Yucel, a correspondent for German daily Die Welt, could still face up to 18 years in prison if convicted.

Yucel, who is both a German and Turkish citizen, was arrested in Istanbul on February 14 last year. He, along with six other German citizens held in Turkey, have led to strained relations between the two countries.

Germany is home to three million ethnic Turks and has strongly criticised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's human rights record.

Many German newspapers marked the one-year anniversary of Yucel's detention with front-page stories, and a major #FreeDeniz campaign was held in Berlin.

Foreign Minister Gabriel has met twice with Erdogan over the issue in the past year. Yucel's detention also came up at a Thursday meeting between Turkey's prime minister, Binali Yildirim, and German chancellor Angela Merkel. During the meeting, Yildirim reportedly said he hoped Yucel "will soon be set free".

Merkel's spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, declined to say whether an agreement was struck between Ankara and Berlin. "This is a first, important step that we have all worked on for a long time," she said.

German officials denied that Yucel's release came about from any arms deal between Germany and Turkey.

"There can be no talk of any dirty deals or side agreements," said Rainer Breul, a spokesman for German's foreign ministry.

In January, Germany put on hold any decision to upgrade German-made Leopard tanks seen used in Ankara's recent offensive in Afrin.

The German government came under fire after images circulated of Ankara using the Leopard tanks during its campaign in northwestern Syria.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More