Foreign Minister Gabriel today (25 October) issued the following statement on the start of the trial of Peter Steudtner and other human rights activists:
I am glad that the court in Istanbul has today ordered Peter Steudtner to be released on bail from pre-trial detention. This is an encouraging signal, a first step. I am pleased that our mediation efforts over the past few weeks have seen this initial success. The decision shows that our voice for the rule of law and our calls for a fair trial are being heard and our efforts for Peter Steudtner bearing fruit. Things should continue along this path. For one thing is clear: today’s court decision must not blind us to the fact that other Germans are still in detention in Turkey on incomprehensible grounds. We will not cease to press for their release and for a solution in those cases too.
I also welcome the fact that some Amnesty International workers have been released from pre-trial detention. Amnesty has been instrumental in repeatedly drawing attention to shortcomings in Turkey. This important voice must not fall silent. The Turkish side needs to understand that a functioning civil society is a guarantor of lively political debate, and such debate is precisely what is needed to broaden the basis for the legitimation of political decisions.