Die Welt asks for release of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel in letter to Erdoğan
AP photoThe editor-in-chief of German newspaper Die Welt has penned a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, requesting the release of Istanbul correspondent Deniz Yücel, who was arrested on terror charges in Turkey late in February.
“Deniz Yücel is a journalist who is critical and discomforting. No more and no less. Please release Deniz. Deniz surrendered himself [to police] by trusting that he would face a fair trial in your country as a constitutional state,” Ulf Poschardt said in his letter published in both German and Turkish.
Poschardt also stressed that current strained bilateral relations does not reflect the close integration of both countries.
“The current relationship does not reflect what connects our countries. Above all, you can change that. The release of Deniz Yücel would be a signal,” he said.
Poschardt also reminded Erdoğan that he himself had once been imprisoned “because your political opponents wanted to see you in jail.”
“In March 1999, you were given a prison sentence because your political opponents wanted to see you there. So you know what such a punishment means,” he said, referring to Erdoğan’s four-month prison sentence for reciting an Islamist poem at the time.
In his letter, Poschardt also quoted a shurah from the Quran reading: “The Most Merciful, taught the Qur’an, created man, [And] taught him eloquence. The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation, And the stars and trees prostrate. And the heaven. He raised and imposed the balance. That you not transgress within the balance. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.”
Yücel was arrested on Feb. 27 on charges of “propaganda in support of a terrorist organization” and “inciting the public to violence,” after first being detained on Feb. 14.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after Yücel’s arrest with Erdoğan saying that the journalist was a “German agent” and a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).