Turkey’s Erdoğan says Germany obsessed with journalist Deniz Yücel

Die Welt’s Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel was arrested on baseless charges of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and inciting people to hatred and enmity.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Germany has become obsessed with journalist Deniz Yücel, jailed in Turkey since Feb. 14, underlining that he rebuffed German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she mentioned Yücel during their meeting in Brussels on Thursday, Hürriyet reported on Saturday.

“They are obsessed with Deniz [Yücel]. I reminded them [Chancellor Merkel] that ‘You have many Denizes, I gave you a list’,” Erdoğan said when asked whether the Yücel issue was on the table with Merkel.

In April, Erdoğan said the extradition of Turkish-German journalist Yücel to Germany will never take place as long as he is president.

Erdoğan has accused Yücel of being a German agent and a representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on many occasions.

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.

Erdoğan also said he expressed his uneasiness over Germany’s treatment of PKK and Gülen movement members.

“We have strongly expressed our reaction to German acceptance of the asylum applications of coup plotter soldiers. We have asked ‘How could you do that?’” said Erdoğan, while talking about the details of his meeting with Merkel.

Stressing that he was not satisfied with Merkel’s answer that asylum is an issue of law, Erdoğan said, “In fact, this issue, its process, to a large extent, is under the authority of the interior or justice ministries or the government.”

Meanwhile, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has organized a demonstration in Paris to demand the release of French journalist Mathias Depardon, who was taken into custody in Turkey’s Batman province, the city that Depardon had gone to take pictures of the ancient town of Hasankeyf. Depardon has been kept in solitary confinement since his detention on May 8th.

It was reported that the demonstration that was held in front of the Embassy of Turkey in Paris was also attended by journalist Depardon’s mother.

Noting that Depardon has not been released although a decision for his deportation was issued earlier this week, head of the RSF, Christophe Deloire said that Depardon has gone on a hunger strike.Deloire has called the acts of Turkey as ‘meaningless.’

“Depardon is detained by Erdoğan’s government to intimidate journalists who desire to go to Turkey’, Deloire added.

French photojournalist Depardon’s mother Daniele Van de Lanotte also talked about Depardon’s hunger strike and said: “He was already too slim. If he continues his hunger strike for a long time – and, he actually said he would do so until he is released  – not hours but even seconds would matter for his health.”

Depardon was in Batman to take photographs of Hasankeyf for the National Geographic magazine. He’s been on hunger strike since May 20. The situation regarding Depardon was also brought up during the meeting of Turkey’s President Erdoğan with France’s newly elected President Emmanuel Macron during the recent NATO Summit held in Brussels.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of May 27, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 241 are arrested pending trial, only 23 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 27, 2017

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