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Deniz Yücel thanks supporters

March 25, 2018

In his first public appearance since he was released from prison, journalist Deniz Yücel has thanked his supporters. But his ordeal may not yet be over, as his trial in Turkey looks set to start in the summer.

Deniz Yücel at the event in Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache

In his first public appearance since he was released from prison five weeks ago, German-Turkish journalist, Deniz Yücel, has publically thanked his supporters at an event in Berlin. "The fact that there were people standing up for me — that contributed a great deal to my well-being," he said, describing the difficulty of being held in solitary confinement. "I'm alright. Really," he told supporters.

Read more: Journalist Deniz Yücel returns to Germany after release from Turkish prison

Yücel with his wife at the event in Berlin
Yücel publicly thanked and hugged his wife, DilekImage: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache

"Even if they want to bring you down, take away your pen and paper, you can still find a way to go on," Yücel said. The guests at the sold-out event greeted Yücel with lengthy applause and a standing ovation. The theme of the evening, which was organized by the initiative "Free Deniz," was "To Freedom."

The initiative also held numerous solidarity events during Yücel's year of imprisonment. "The motorcades that were organized for me were not for nothing. I don't know whether Erdogan noticed them, but they certainly helped me," he said.

Read more: Opinion: Deniz Yücel's release is no reason for complacency

Yücel thanked his lawyer, Veysel Ok, and his wife, Dilek, both of whom he hugged on stage. He also explained that writing had helped him find the strength to keep going. And he read out sections of his recent book, "We are not here for fun," which he penned in prison, secretly writing his text on the blank pages of an edition of "The Little Prince."

Yücel on stage at the event with his lawyer
Yücel, and his lawyer, Veysel Ok, addressed the sold-out eventImage: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache

Although he was released in February, his trial in Turkey is set to start in the summer. A date has not yet been set. He is charged with "inciting the people to hatred and hostility" and writing "propaganda for terrorist organization." The Turkish public prosecutor is demanding Yücel be given 18 years imprisonment. It is not clear whether Yücel will be present for the trial.

Yücel also remembered the more than one hundred Turkish journalists who are still behind bars.

Read more: ​​After Yücel, Germany looks to others detained in Turkey

cl/ng (AFP, dpa)

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