German officials deny Turkish journalist Adil Yiğit will be deported

Turkish journalist Adil Yiğit, who reportedly faced deportation from Germany for protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Berlin last month, will not be extradited to Turkey, Germany broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.

German officials said journalist Yigit will receive a humanitarian visa instead. Yigit says it’s a “trap.” Journalist Yiğit, who writes for the German newspaper TAZ and runs the Turkish website Avrupa Postası, is a vocal critic of Erdoğan, whom he protested by wearing a t-shirt inscribed with the slogan “Freedom for journalists in Turkey” during a press conference with Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin last month. Yiğit was escorted out of the conference by security.

The latest news on the TAZ contributor, has been in Germany for 36 years, follows a notice he received on Friday that his residence permit had not been extended and he must leave Germany by January 22 or face deportation.

Florian Käckenmester, a spokesperson for the Hamburg Central Foreigners Office on Monday announced that Yiğit would be given a residence permit for “humanitarian” reasons, the Deutsche Welle said.

Käckenmester in an interview with public broadcaster ARD denied any intention of deporting Yiğit. “There are no plans to deport him,” she said. Käckenmester also told the EPD news agency that Yiğit had been informed that his temporary residence permit would not be renewed because he no longer fulfilled the requirements. But Yiğit was also told that officials would suspend an automatic deportation linked to the decision and offer him a new residency permit based on humanitarian grounds.

However, Yiğit denied he had received information about a new residency permit. Speaking to the DPA news agency, he said the move was a “trap” because the new residency permit entailed fewer rights for the holder. “They want to get rid of me,” he added.

As of the beginning of October, Turkey delivered a list of 136 people it wants German authorities to extradite over suspected links to terrorist groups. Berlin has refused Ankara’s extradition requests since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of October 17, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 148 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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