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German journalist detained in Turkey - reports

April 14, 2018

Germany's Foreign Ministry has said it is investigating claims that a German journalist has been detained in Turkey. Adil Demirci is believed to have been arrested while on vacation in Istanbul.

Turkey and Germany flags
Image: Getty Images

The German Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was responding to reports that Adil Demirci, a journalist for the left-leaning Turkish news agency Etha, had been detained in Istanbul, although the reasons for his arrest remained unclear.

The detention of another journalist after the release of Deniz Yücel would be another obstacle in already frayed German-Turkish relations.

Read more: European Rights Court condemns Turkey over journalist jailings

What we know about Adil Demirci's arrest so far

  • Reports suggested that Demirci was one of three Etha reporters detained during a series of police raids in Istanbul overnight on Thursday.
  • The German Foreign Ministry said it was "working on the basis that Adil Demirci has been arrested," but admitted Turkish authorities had yet to confirm such reports.
  • Demirci reportedly worked as a Germany correspondent for Etha and lived in the city of Cologne.

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

In Istanbul 'on holiday'

News of Demirci's arrest was first reported by Mesale Tolu, a colleague of his at Etha. Tolu herself was one of several German nationals arrested in Turkey year last year for political reasons. Tolu tweeted on Friday morning that Demirci was detained with two colleagues, Pınar Gayip and Semiha Sahin, during a raid. Demirci, who reportedly holds both German and Turkish citizenship, was in Istanbul on holiday, Tolu said. Reports suggested he was scheduled to fly back to Germany on Saturday. 

Germany's Foreign Ministry said its consulate in Istanbul was trying to establish contact with Demircis.

Read more: German journalist Mesale Tolu urges more government pressure on Turkey

Journalists on trial in Turkey

Germany's rocky relations with Turkey: A series of arrests of Germans or dual German-Turkish nationals in Turkey last year prompted a major diplomatic spat between Berlin and Ankara. Relations in recent months had shown signs of improvement following the release of Die Welt reporter Deniz Yücel, a joint German-Turkish national. Germany's new top diplomat, Heiko Maas, has yet to visit to Turkey, but previously accused Ankara of undermining rule of law.

Germans in Turkish prisons: Four other German nationals remain detained in Turkey for political reasons, according to the German Foreign Ministry. Among them is 73-year-old dual-national Enver Altayli, who is currently sitting in a maximum security prison on the outskirts of Ankara on suspicion of harboring links to terror groups. The names of the other three have not been released.

Yücel and Tolu awaiting trial: Yücel and Tolu, who both have dual German-Turkish nationality, have been released from prison while their trials are pending. Both face charges for allegedly producing propaganda material for terrorist groups.

Erdogan's crackdown on the press: Since the failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016, Ankara has responded with a widespread crackdown on alleged dissidents. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned and over 150,000 removed from their jobs. Among those detained are more than 70 journalists, while authorities have shut down several news organizations as part of the crackdown. 

Deniz Yücel is free: What game is Turkey playing?

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dm/sms (dpa, epd)