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Turkey arrests another German citizen - source

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkish police have arrested another German citizen, a German foreign ministry source said on Thursday, and public broadcaster ARD said the man had been accused of “terrorist propaganda” after criticising the Turkish government on social media.

The arrest comes after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Ankara on Monday to do more to improve its troubled diplomatic ties with both Germany and the United States which would also help to ease its current economic woes.

“We’re aware of the case. The embassy in Ankara will initiate consular assistance,” the foreign ministry source said.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday there were currently seven other German citizens arrested in Turkey on political grounds. Turkey has also arrested several U.S. citizens in recent months.

In the latest case, ARD public broadcaster reported that Turkish police arrested 46-year old Ilhami A. on Tuesday morning while he was visiting his mother in her home town Saribasak in a largely Kurdish region of eastern Turkey.

A judge in the provincial capital Elazig issued an arrest warrant against Ilhami A., who has Kurdish roots and works as a taxi driver in the northern German city of Hamburg, ARD reported. He has lived in Germany since 1992, it said.

His Turkish lawyer, Ercan Yildirim, told ARD his client had been accused of “terror propaganda” because he had criticised the Turkish government on social media.

Yildrim told ARD his client had been taken to the prison of Elazig and that he would file a complaint against the arrest on Thursday.

The Turkish prosecutor’s office in Elazig was not available for comment, ARD reported.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Joseph Nasr and Gareth Jones)

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