Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said extradition of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, who was jailed in Turkey in February, to Germany will never take place as long as Erdoğan is president.
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 and sent to Silivri Prison in İstanbul.
According to a report by Turkish Minute, speaking on a TV program on Thursday night, Erdoğan commented about Yücel’s possible extradition to Germany and said: “It will never take place. It will never happen as long as I occupy this post [as president].”
He said Germany does not extradite the Turkish citizens demanded by Turkey, so it will receive the same treatment from Turkey.
The Turkish government and Erdoğan accuse Germany of harboring terrorists from Turkey.
President Erdoğan accused Yücel of being a “German agent” and a “representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]” on many occasions. The journalist is being accused of “disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “inciting people to hatred and enmity.”
Nationwide protests took place in Germany and other European countries after Yücel’s arrest, with demands made for his immediate release.
As of April 1, 2017, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), a Stockholm-based monitoring and rights advocacy group, has confirmed that 228 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey, a new world record by any measure. Of these journalists, 194 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. 13 jailed journalists have been re-detained just after they were released by an İstanbul court on March 31, 2017. 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.
The Turkish government is apparently using arbitrary arrests as part of intimidation campaign to suppress critical coverage, muzzle independent media and silence journalists. Only 21 journalists who are in jail were convicted while the rest are in abusive and long pre-trial detentions. Moreover, sweeping detention warrants have been issued for at least 100 journalists who are forced to live in exile abroad or remain at large in Turkey.
ÇAVUŞOĞLU DENIES HE VIOLATED ELECTION LAW BY HOLDING RALLIES IN GERMANY
Meanwhile, Erdoğan’s prominent henchman Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has denied that he violated Turkey’s election law by holding a political rally at a Turkish diplomatic mission in Germany last month for an April 16 referendum.
Responding to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy from İstanbul Sezgin Tanrıkulu on Thursday, Çavuşoğlu said he met with Turkish citizens at the Turkish Consulate General in Hamburg on March 7.
“[Turkish missions abroad] make an effort to bring Cabinet ministers together with our citizens living in the countries they visit. In this context, I met with our citizens in Hamburg on March 7, 2017 ahead of an official meeting with my German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on March 8 in Berlin,” he said.
In a parliamentary question submitted on March 23, Tanrıkulu requested an explanation from Çavuşoğlu about the rallies he held in Germany to seek the support of Turkish expatriates in the referendum despite provisions prohibiting all types of election propaganda abroad.
According to Article 10 of the election law published in the Official Gazette on March 22, 2008, election campaigning outside Turkey and in Turkish missions in abroad is not allowed.
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) in its resolution No. 109, issued on Feb. 15, 2017, also prohibited election campaigning overseas and at customs stations. (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 14, 2017