A court in Istanbul on Monday ordered provisional detention for a correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, a move that drew a stern rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The newspaper said Deniz Yücel, 43, had been charged with spreading terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred. He has been held on February 18th in connection with news reports on an attack by hackers against the email account of Turkey’s energy minister. The German Foreign Ministry has “asked in” the Turkish ambassador for a “direct conversation,” clarifying that it was not a “formal summons,” AFP reported.
“Germany’s government, and I personally, are determined to make sure that Deniz Yucel is released as quickly as possible, and we find a proper solution for Deniz Yucel, for the freedom of speech as well as for German-Turkish relations,” German Foreign Minister Siegmar Gabriel said in a video address, published on the ministry’s Twitter account.
The minister, Berat Albayrak, is a son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Die Welt said the emails also pointed to efforts to control Turkish media groups and manipulate public opinion via fake social media accounts.
In a statement, Merkel called the court’s decision “bitter and disappointing”.
“The government expects that in handling Yucel’s case, Turkey’s justice system will keep in mind the significant importance of press freedom in all democratic societies,” she added.
“We will continue to insist on a fair and legal treatment of Deniz Yücel and hope that he will soon regain his freedom.”