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Turkey jails German journalist on terrorism charges

A demonstrator sticks a poster reading “#FreeDeniz” on a car window as he takes part on February 25, 2017 in Floersheim near Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, in a protest to support journalist Deniz Yucel detained in Turkey © dpa/AFP/File / Andreas Arnold

Ankara, Turkey, Feb 28 – A court in Istanbul on Monday ordered provisional detention for a correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, a move that drew a stern rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The newspaper said Deniz Yucel, 43, had been charged with spreading terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.

He has been held since February 18 in connection with news reports on an attack by hackers against the email account of Turkey’s energy minister.

The minister, Berat Albayrak, is a son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Die Welt said the emails also pointed to efforts to control Turkish media groups and to manipulate public opinion via fake social media accounts.

In a statement, Merkel called the court’s decision “bitter and disappointing”.

“The government expects that in handling Yucel’s case, Turkey’s justice system will keep in mind the significant importance of press freedom in all democratic societies,” she added.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara have been strained by a series of disputes since the failed coup attempt to oust Erdogan in July 2016.

Turkey has since clamped down on the press, arresting hundreds of journalists without trial.

About 170 media outlets have been closed and nearly 800 press cards cancelled, according to journalists’ associations.

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