Court denies objection to Turkish-German journalist’s pre-trial detention

Deniz Yücel

A Turkish court on Wednesday denied an objection to the continued imprisonment of Deniz Yücel, the Turkey correspondent for German daily Die Welt who has been in pre-trial detention since Feb. 27.

The Ankara 10th Penal Court of Peace stated that Yücel’s actions cannot be considered journalism since his writings contributed to the actions of armed terrorist organizations.

Yücel, who was detained in Turkey on Feb. 14 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of President Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, was arrested by a court on Feb. 27 on accusations of terrorist propaganda.

Following his arrest, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized Germany and Yücel, saying Yücel is not a journalist but a terrorist.

“Chancellor [Angela Merkel] told me when she came here… She said, ‘You have a detained journalist [Deniz Yücel]. We would be happy if you release him.’ I told her: ‘He is not a journalist, he is a terrorist. He is a terrorist. This man is a terrorist, not a journalist.’ And now, the German administration has put my ministers on the same level as this terrorist. This is the problem,” Erdoğan said during a program in Istanbul.

Erdoğan also repeated claims that Yücel had been hiding in the German Consulate General in İstanbul for a month.

President Erdoğan earlier had called Yücel a “German agent” and a “representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK].”

A German official told Reuters in early March that Erdoğan’s allegations were absurd.

According to an updated report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom, an advocacy group that monitors rights violations in Turkey, on March 1, 2017, the number of jailed journalist has reached to a new record of 200 with new arrestees.

Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet. Also, over 180 media outlets have been closed by AKP government last year. (SCF with March 15, 2017

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