Press freedom fuels tensions between Berlin and Ankara

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By Euronews
Press freedom fuels tensions between Berlin and Ankara

<p>German – Turkish relations are becoming increasingly strained over the arrest of a Die Welt reporter in Istanbul, with Berlin summoning Ankara’s ambassador in protest.</p> <p>Politicians and journalists have also been demonstrating outside the Turkish embassy calling for the release of Deniz Yucel.</p> <p>The German newspaper Die Welt has mounted a huge sign proclaiming “#freedeniz” on the roof of its building in central Berlin.</p> <p>At the same time there were further protests against in at least ten other German cities as well as in Switzerland and Austria.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Both heads of Green Party showed up in front of Turkish embassy to demand release of Yücel <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FREEDENIZ?src=hash">#FREEDENIZ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/cem_oezdemir"><code>cem_oezdemir</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GoeringEckardt"></code>GoeringEckardt</a> <a href="https://t.co/0VtM9SG3qv">pic.twitter.com/0VtM9SG3qv</a></p>— Charlotte Potts (@chapotts) <a href="https://twitter.com/chapotts/status/836610912656175104">February 28, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel described German- Turkey relations as “facing one of their greatest challenges of the modern era”.</p> <p>“The situation of Deniz Yucel throws a spotlight on the fact that Germany, and Turkey and the EU and Turkey, have very different ideas about the application of the basic principles of a constitutional democracy and the value of the freedom of the press,” said Gabriel.</p> <h3>Ten years</h3> <p>Yucel who is a German -Turkish dual national with Die Welt faces up to 10 years in jail after being arrested on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation.</p> <p>Yucel has been questioned by Turkish prosecuters about his ties to a leftist hacker group alleged to have obtained emails from the private account of Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s energy minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law, Yucel’s lawyer said.</p> <p>They have also questioned him about a 2015 interview with Cemil Bayik, a senior member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (<span class="caps">PKK</span>).</p> <p>He is the first German journalist held n a widespread crackdown in Turkey following a failed coup in July.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The number of jailed journalists in Turkey reaches to 200 <a href="https://t.co/5tS4FcRJ9N">https://t.co/5tS4FcRJ9N</a></p>— Bulent Kenes (@bkenes) <a href="https://twitter.com/bkenes/status/836728251447918592">March 1, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>German-Turkish ties have been strained over the post-coup arrests and sackings of tens of thousands of people, and by a federal probe into possible spying by Turkish clerics in Germany.</p> <p>At the same time, Berlin is counting on Turkey to uphold a deal with the European Union to prevent refugees from crossing to Greece.</p>