Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (16 July) following the verdict against Deniz Yücel in Istanbul:
Today’s ruling against Deniz Yücel sends absolutely the wrong signal, and the announcement of further investigations is completely inexplicable to me. It shows that we continue to have significant differences with respect to the protection of freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Furthermore, this development does not help build confidence in the application of rule-of-law principles in Turkey.
We must not forget that numerous German nationals are still in custody in Turkey. In at least some of these cases, the criminal charges are not clearly comprehensible. We want all of these cases to be resolved. Until that is done, they will stand in the way of normalising relations between Turkey and Germany and the European Union as a whole.
A court in Istanbul sentenced the journalist Deniz Yücel to two years, nine months and 22 days in prison for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK). Deniz Yücel was acquitted of sedition and spreading propaganda for the Gülen network. However, two new investigations are to be launched against him for supposedly insulting the Turkish state and the President, offences under sections 301 and 299 of the Turkish Penal Code.