Turkish journalist Adil Yiğit, who protested during a press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month, has been told he will have to leave Germany, according to a report by Deutsche Welle (DW) on Sunday.
The 60-year-old Yiğit told German media he had received notice on Friday that his residence permit had not been extended and that he must leave Germany by January 22 or face deportation. He said he has been in Germany for 36 years.
Yiğit, who writes for the German newspaper TAZ and runs the Turkish website Avrupa Postası, is a vocal critic of President Erdoğan.
During a press conference with Erdoğan and Merkel in Berlin last month, he wore a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Freedom for journalists in Turkey” before he was taken out of the room by security. Erdoğan laughed as he was escorted out. “The two things have to be related, there’s no other possible explanation,” Yiğit told German news agency DPA.
The reason for the deportation provided by migration authorities in the northern city of Hamburg was that Yiğit is unemployed and is no longer living with his children, according to documents seen by DPA. Yiğit said he would meet with his lawyer.
President Erdoğan has repeatedly demanded that Germany extradite dissidents, something that Berlin has so far refrained from doing. It is unclear whether Germany would actually carry out a deportation to a country where tens of thousands of people have been arrested on flimsy charges in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Germany has taken in and supported dozens of Turkish journalists who are under threat in Turkey.
Frank Schwabe, an SDP lawmaker and the party’s spokesman for human rights, said on Twitter that there was no way Yiğit would be deported. “‘Expulsion’ or whatever. Of course, Adil Yiğit will not be deported to a land where he could be threatened with torture or arbitrary arrest. It would be good if that is clarified quickly,” Schwabe wrote.
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 7, 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.