Erdoğan claims journalist Yücel German agent, PKK representative, hid in consulate

As tension with Germany has escalated over imprisonment of the German daily Die Welt’s Turkey reporter Deniz Yücel, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday called journalist Yücel a “German agent” and a “representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK],” saying he had been hiding in the German Consulate General in İstanbul for a month.

“This person has been hiding in the German Consulate for one month as a representative of the PKK, as a German agent. We said, ‘Give him to us; we will try him,’ but they did not hand him over. When [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel told us this, I told her that ‘when we asked for a terrorist to be extradited to us, what did you say? The judiciary is independent. We trust our independent and impartial judiciary. Hand him over to us so that he can be tried.’ They did not give him to us at first. Later, somehow they handed him over and the judiciary did its job and arrested him,” said Erdoğan during a speech at a ceremony in İstanbul.

Reacting also to the cancellations of the referendum campaign programs of Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi in Germany, Erdoğan said: “I was to participate in a program by video conference, but the Constitutional Court took a decision in two hours. They prevented my speech. Cemil Bayık [one of the leaders of the PKK] was able to speak from Qandil.”

“They [Germany] should be tried for aiding and abetting terrorism. We will expose all of what you have done,” added Erdoğan.

The front page of the pro-government Star daily on Thursday bore a headline that targeted jailed Die Welt reporter Yücel, saying he was not a journalist but rather a hitman of the PKK. According to Star, Yücel’s reports in Die Welt, from June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017 were examined by Turkey’s Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM), and some of them were deemed to be promoting the views of the terrorist PKK.

Publishing a photo from Yücel’s interview with Bayık, on its front page, Star also claimed Yücel purposefully used terms such as “despot,” “oppressive,” “anti-women” and “a leader that oppresses the opposition” in order to insult Turkish government officials.

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 Monday. The prosecutor had accused Yücel of “disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “inciting people to hatred and enmity.”


As tension between Berlin and Ankara persists over the cancellation of programs in Germany hosted by Justice Minister Bozdağ and Economy Zeybekçi, another of Zeybekçi’s events was announced to have been cancelled on Friday, Deutsche Welle Türkçe reported.

According to the report, the program planned for Sunday evening in Frechen that Zeybekçi would participate in as speaker was cancelled by the operator of the Golden Palats Salon. It is reported that the contract does not allow use of the salon for political activities. Another of Zeybekçi’s events in Köln was also cancelled after the Köln Municipality refused to allow use of the salon for the activity.

Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) sources said they are searching for another location for Zeybekçi’s program.

News of the cancellations arrived amid the tension between Turkey and Germany after a program of Turkish Justice Minister Bozdağ was cancelled in Germany on Thursday. The small German town of Gaggenau on Thursday cancelled a speech by Bozdağ set for that evening amid outrage over the arrest in Turkey of Turkish-German reporter Deniz Yücel on charges of terrorism.


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşuğlu and his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, decided during a phone call on Friday to meet on March 8 over a crisis that erupted after German authorities refused to allow Turkish Justice Minister  Bozdağ to hold a campaign rally in a German town. The meeting of the two foreign ministers will take place in Germany.

The small German town of Gaggenau on Thursday cancelled a speech by Bozdağ set for that evening amid outrage over the arrest in Turkey of Turkish-German reporter Deniz Yücel on charges of terrorism. On Thursday the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Martin Erdmann, the German ambassador to Ankara, to protest the cancellation of Bozdağ’s program. Strongly criticizing Berlin, Çavuşoğlu said earlier on Friday that Turkey would retaliate against the German decision.

Describing the decision as a systematic move by the “German deep state,” Çavuşoğlu said: “You have to see us as an equal. Turkey is not a country under your command. You are not Turkey’s boss. It is not the case that you are first class and Turkey second. We do not treat you like that. You have to treat Turkey as an equal.”

In a statement on Friday, the German Foreign Ministry said the authority to allow rallies lies with local administrations and that the federal government plays no role in such matters.

Minister Bozdağ reacted against the decision by cancelling a meeting with his German counterpart, also scheduled for Thursday. “It is not acceptable that the German authorities, who make speeches about human rights, democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression, and who accuse all except themselves of being lacking on these issues, cannot tolerate a meeting of the Turkish community,” added Bozdağ.


Burhan Kuzu, an advisor to President Erdoğan and a Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, has said construction of a third airport in İstanbul has driven Germany crazy because the country sees Turkey as a rival. Speaking to Sputnik, the Russian state news agency, on Friday, Kuzu commented on German authorities’ refusal to allow two Turkish ministers to hold rallies in some German towns for an upcoming public referendum that will be held on a constitutional reform package on April 16.

“When construction started on the third airport [in İstanbul], they [Germany] just went crazy because Frankfurt Airport is about to be closed down. All this has made Germany uncomfortable, and this is the real reason [behind Germany’s refusal to allow the ministers to hold rallies],” Kuzu said.

The third airport in İstanbul is under construction in the Arnavutköy district on the European side of the city.The airport is planned to be the largest airport in the world, with an annual capacity of 150 million passengers. (SCF with March 3, 2017


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