German officials visit jailed reporter Deniz Yücel, demand release
ISTANBUL - Reuters
AP photoA German-Turkish journalist whose arrest in Turkey has jolted relations between Ankara and Berlin is doing well in prison but Germany is pushing for his release, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth said after consular officials visited him.
Turkish authorities arrested Deniz Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, in February on charges of propaganda in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and inciting public violence. Yücel denies the charges.
Roth spoke to reporters after talking to a lawyer from the German consulate who had visited Yücel in prison in Istanbul on April 4.
"Mr Yücel is, given the circumstances, doing well. What remains a burden for him is the solitary confinement," said Roth, who thanked Turkish authorities for the opportunity for consular officials to meet Yücel after they had denied access for weeks.
"But this can't be the end for us," Roth said.
"We are still pushing for the release of Deniz Yücel," he added.
Yücel faces up to 10-1/2 years in jail if convicted.
Relations between Turkey and Germany have been further strained following bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to drum up support for the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments.