Detained on February 14, Die Welt Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel is arrested last night on the charge of “propagating for a terrorist organization and inciting hatred and enmity among people”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the arrest is disproportionately harsh and disappointing.
After two-week detention, Deniz Yücel gave a statement to the prosecutor last night and referred to the court with arrest request.
Yücel is accused of “being a member of a terrorist organization, abusing private data and propagating terrorism” because of his news stories on Minister of Energy Berat Albayrak’s leaked e-mails.
It is reported that Yücel was also asked about his articles on Kurds in the southeast Turkey during the interrogation. Journalists Tunca Öğreten, Ömer Çelik and Mahir Kanat have been arrested as part of the same investigation.
Die Welt reported that lawyers of Deniz Yücel will object the arrest within 7 days.
Merkel: “bitter and disappointing”
German government reacted against the arrest. Speaking to Die Welt, Chancellor Merkel stated that the decision is bitter and disappointing and noted, “"This measure is disproportionately harsh, especially given that Deniz Yücel presented himself to the Turkish justice system voluntarily and for the purpose of the investigation.”
She also added, “The German government expects that the Turkish justice system keeps in mind the great importance that press freedom has in any democratic society in its treatment of the Yücel case."
Gabriel: the arrest shows our differences
German Minister of Foreign Affair Sigmar Gabriel also reacted against the arrest. He expressed a severer criticism than Merkel: "The case of Deniz Yucel casts a harsh light on the different way in which our two countries appear to apply the principles of rule of law and the way we assess press freedom and freedom of speech.”
A protest is expected to be held in front of Turkish Embassy in Berlin. Green Party co-chair Cem Özdemir, deputies and representatives of RSF are expected to attend the protest.