Turkish authorities have formally arrested a reporter for a prominent German newspaper (Die Welt) who has been critical of the ruling AK party. Deniz Yucel, who has duel German -Turkish nationality, has been charged with propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation.
Turkish opposion lawmakers and members of Yucel’s family condemned the arrest outside a court in Istanbul.
CHP member Baris Yarkadas said the accusation brought against Yucel consist of the articles he wrote along with a tweet and a joke he told a newspaper:
“Deniz Yucel’s arrest is a blow to freedom of thought. Deniz Yucel did not run away. Deniz Yucel went to the police station with his lawyers and gave himself up to officers despite a search warrant.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the arrest “disproportionate” while her Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has been more forthright.
“In our opinion there has been no reason to deprive Deniz Yucel of his liberty. We are now resting our hopes on the the court respecting principles in accordance with the freedom of the press and that Mister Yucel will be set free as soon as possible.”
Protesters in his home town of Flörsheim came out in support at the weekend.
Yucel is the first German reporter to be held in the widespread crackdown which has followed last year’s failed coup. He was detained after investigating emails allegedly hacked from the account of Turkey’s energy minister who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.