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Mesale Tolu to return to Turkey for trial

October 15, 2018

Mesale Tolu, a journalist detained for months in Turkey for alleged terror links, is returning to Istanbul to appear in court, she says. Her husband, also a journalist, is still in Turkey under a travel ban.

Mesale Tolu at a press conference
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Schmidt

German journalist and translator Mesale Tolu has said she intends to fly to Istanbul on Monday evening to attend her trial on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda and supporting terrorist organizations, which begins on Tuesday.

Tolu, who spent some seven months in pre-trial detention after her arrest in Turkey in late April 2017, said she wanted to personally defend herself against all charges and call for an acquittal.

Cengiz Dogan, the spokesman of a support group for Tolu based in the southern city of Ulm where the journalist was born, said Tolu had taken the final decision to participate in the trial together with her lawyers on Sunday. He said they were of the opinion that she would not face rearrest if she returned, but that if she were detained again or was given a prison sentence in the trial, the group "Freedom for Mesale Tolu" would organize protests in Germany.

Mesale Tolu and Suat Corlu in Istanbul
Tolu moved to Istanbul with her husband in 2014Image: picture-alliance/dpa/L. Say

Only just returned to Germany

Tolu, who has only German citizenship after revoking her Turkish citizenship in 2007, returned to Germany on August 26 with her 3-year-old son, who spent time in prison with her after a travel ban was lifted. Her husband, fellow journalist Suat Corlu, who is a Turkish citizen, is still in Turkey under a travel ban. He, like Tolu, has been accusing of supporting the left-wing extremist Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MKLP).

Tolu says her return to Turkey is also aimed at assisting her husband.

The Turkish government has arrested thousands of people, including journalists, lawyers, public servants and military personnel, on terror-related charges in the wake of a failed coup in July 2016 that Ankara blames on followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the US.

tj/rt (AFP, dpa)

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