Turkey bails German-Turk journalist after year without charge

Marsha Scott
February 17, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the release, but she also called on Ankara to guarantee fast judicial proceedings for other German citizens still being held in Turkish custody.

Germany's Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the news, saying Yucel's release was the result of German diplomatic efforts and asked observers to: "wait and see what happens within the next hours".

Turkey's state-run news agency reported that a court ruled Yucel should be set free pending a trial, after approving a prosecutor's indictment seeking between four and 18 years in prison for the journalist for "engaging in terrorist propaganda" and "inciting public hatred and enmity". He denies the accusations.

Germany's foreign minister later told reporters that Yucel was on his way to an Istanbul airport and can "freely leave Turkey".

Yildirim said he hoped the case would soon come to court.

"I'm pleased, just like many, many others, that he was able to leave jail today", said Merkel, who on Thursday held talks in Berlin with Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

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"Finally! Best news ever".

The spokeswoman added that Berlin had not agreed to any "dirty deals or other arrangements" to secure his release.

Turkey, the USA, and the European Union list the PKK as an armed terrorist organization, which has been raging an armed conflict against the Turkish state since the mid-1980s.

The high-profile case of German newspaper Die Welt journalist Mr Yucel has put a significant strain on relations between the two countries.

At another court in the same building, six other journalists and media employees accused of involvement in Turkey's 2016 failed coup attempt were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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