Berlin ‘concerned over deterioration of jail conditions’ of German rights activist in Turkey
ISTANBULGerman Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schafer has said the German government is concerned about the potentially worsening jail conditions of human rights activist Peter Steudtner, who was recently transferred to Istanbul’s Silivri Prison, Deutsche Welle has reported.
A Turkish court ruled for the arrest of six human rights activists on July 18, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey, İdil Eser, and Steudtner. They were detained by police on Istanbul’s Büyükada island on accusations “aiding a terror group.”
Schafer said Turkish officials did not inform the German government or Steudtner’s lawyers about his recent transfer from Maltepe Prison to Silivri Prison.
He stated that they concerned that the jail conditions would worsen after Steudtner’s transfer to Silivri, adding that no progress has yet been made yet in the investigation.
Steudtner’s custody status has still not been evaluated yet, Schafer said, reiterating the German government’s demand for Steudtner to be released as the claims against him are “baseless.”
On July 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticized the arrest of Steudtner in Turkey as “absolutely unjustified” and said the German government would do all it could to secure his release.
Merkel made the unscheduled remarks at a ceremony for top German athletes, saying the case was of “the utmost concern.”
Relations between Turkey and Germany have been shaken since early this year, when the latter banned Turkish ministers’ campaigning in its territories before the April 16 constitutional referendum. The arrest of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel in February and of Steudner in July, as well as Ankara’s refusal to let a group of German lawmakers visit their troops at the İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey have also fueled the dispute.