Turkey frees German-Turkish journalist pending trial

From Reuters - February 16, 2018

ISTANBUL/BERLIN (Reuters) - A Turkish court freed German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel on Friday pending trial after indicting him for alleged security offences, in a move welcomed by Berlin and which could lead to an easing of tensions between the two NATO allies.

Germany has been pressing for months for the release of Yucel, detained since last February on suspicion of spreading propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting violence. He denies the accusations.

Turkeys state-run Anadolu news agency said the court had accepted an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for Yucel but had also opted to free him ahead of trial.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters in Munich he expected Yucel would shortly be able to leave Turkey.

This is a good day. Deniz Yucel is free, he is on the way to the airport in Istanbul, said Gabriel.

I can assure you there are no agreements, trade-offs, or deals in connection with this, he added.

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.

Im pleased, just like many, many others, that he was able to leave jail today, said Merkel, who on Thursday held talks in Berlin with Turkeys Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Earlier this week Yildirim had raised the prospect of Yucel being freed.

We know that there are also other cases of people, maybe not as prominent, who remain in custody, and also for them we hope that there will be fast and constitutional judicial proceedings, Merkel told a news conference in Berlin.


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