Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail

Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail

ISTANBUL/BERLIN
Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who was jailed in Turkey a year ago, has been indicted for alleged security offences but a court has decided to release him pending trial on Feb. 16.

Die Welt, the German newspaper for which he works, had reported earlier in the day that Yücel had been freed, citing his lawyer.

Deniz Yücel was welcomed by his wife Dilek Mayatürk Yücel after he was freed from jail. The reunion of the couple melted hearts after they had been separated for a year.

A German government spokeswoman confirmed the news, which could ease some of the tensions between the NATO allies.

“I believe that this will lead to [Yücel] being able to leave the country,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters in Munich. “I hope this will happen very soon.”

A Turkish court has accepted an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for Yücel on charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “stirring enmity” and opted to free him ahead of trial.

Yücel was jailed in February last year on suspicion of spreading propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting violence.

He denied the accusations.

Following the release of Yücel, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said some issues in Turkey-Germany relations are seen resolved today, while adding that it could be better.

“Finally! Best news ever. Deniz Yücel is free,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a tweet.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said during a regular news conference on Feb. 16 that the release would be “an important first step” after massive diplomatic efforts.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said there were still contentious issues between Germany and Turkey, whose ties deteriorated after Ankara’s crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup in 2016.

Yücel’s case has become the focus of particular attention for Germany.

The spokeswoman said that Berlin had not agreed to any “dirty deals or other arrangements” to secure the release.

Yıldırım, who met Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks in Berlin on Feb. 15, earlier this week had raised the prospect that Yücel could soon be freed.

“I hope that he will be freed soon. I think that there will be a development soon,” Yıldırım told German broadcaster ARD in an interview.

Deniz Yücel, release, Die Welt