Official correspondence from Turkey’s consulate general in Frankfurt to the Justice Ministry in Ankara has revealed that a German prosecutor denied a request for judicial assistance submitted by a Turkish court in the case of famous singer Ferhat Tunç.
According to the Bianet news website, the request was made in relation to a case in which Tunç is being tried for posting tweets critical of a proposed constitutional amendment establishing a presidential system of governance.
In its correspondence the consulate general said the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Darmstadt denied the request on the grounds that freedom of expression is a fundamental right according to the German constitution.
The decision was based on Article 2 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which states that “Assistance may be refused: a) if the request concerns an offence which the requested Party considers a political offence, an offence connected with a political offence, or a fiscal offence; b) if the requested Party considers that execution of the request is likely to prejudice the sovereignty, security, ordre public or other essential interests of its country.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Darmstadt had refused to obtain the testimony of Tunç in December for the same reason in a case in which he was being tried on terrorism-related charges for his tweets criticizing Turkey’s incursion into Syria’s Afrin province.