Germany says Erdoğan’s spying allegation against journalist absurd

After Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called German daily Die Welt’s Turkey reporter Deniz Yücel a “German agent” who hid in the German Consulate General in İstanbul for a month, a German official told Reuters on Saturday that the allegations were “absurd.” The short response to Erdoğan came from an anonymous official in the German ministry of foreign affairs.

Erdoğan claimed that arrested journalist Yücel was a “representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK].”

“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 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 Kandıl.”

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

Meanwhile, a hotel in Hamburg has cancelled Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s conference on March 7, citing security concerns. According to the claims of pro-AKP circles, the previously arranged hotel refused to rent out its conference room as other hotels also refused providing a place for the Çavuşoğlu’s meeting using security issues or occupancy as a reason. Therefore, the AKP officials have booked a Turkish wedding saloon in Hamburg’s Veddel neighborhood for the event planned for next Tuesday.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his German counterpart Angela Merkel held a phone call on Saturday amid an escalating tension between the two countries after Thursday’s ban on party meetings of Bozdağ and Zeybekci in Germany.


Meanwhile, the former chairman of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, on Saturday cancelled a panel discussion to be held in Germany about an upcoming referendum in Turkey.

A spokesperson for the CHP in Germany, Hayri Çiçekdağı, said Baykal was concerned about the abuse of his meeting in Germany since the planned programs of two Turkish ministers had been cancelled amid strained relations between the two countries.

Çiçekdağı expressed discomfort with the German decision to cancel meetings planned to be held by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials.

Journalist 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.”

Several AKP ministers had organized events to campaign for the April 16 referendum in Germany as there are nearly 1.5 million Turkish citizens who are eligible to vote in Germany. (SCF with March 4, 2017

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