The Turkish government has issued permission to German Embassy officials in Turkey to visit jailed journalist Deniz Yücel, who works for the German Die Welt newspaper and has been kept in pre-trial detention in Turkey since Feb. 27, the Turkish version of the Deutsche Welle announced on Monday.
“The German government: The request of the German Embassy to meet with jailed journalist Deniz Yücel has been approved. The meeting is expected to take place tomorrow [on Tuesday],” announced Deutsche Welle.
Yücel, who was detained in Turkey on Feb. 14 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip 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.
Nationwide protests took place in Germany and other European countries after Yücel’s arrest, with demands made for his immediate release.
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.”
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 92 journalists who are forced to live in exile abroad or remain at large in Turkey. (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 3, 2017