German politicians urge Turkey to release embassy lawyer | News | DW | 22.11.2019
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German politicians urge Turkey to release embassy lawyer

A "provocation" from Ankara and a "foreign policy scandal:" German politicians are outraged over the detention of a lawyer who had been working on asylum cases.

The detention of a Turkish lawyer who had been working with the German Embassy in Ankara sparked outrage in Germany, with officials across the political spectrum urging for the lawyer's release.

At the G20 summit in Nagoya, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would address the issue with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Before the meeting Maas spoke of his intention to raise the issue with Cavusoglu, saying there needed to be a "swift resolution."

Lawyer was assisting German asylum cases

The lawyer had been assisting the embassy in Ankara by looking into the cases of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in Germany.

Turkish authorities have accused him of espionage and seized documents on dozens of asylum-seekers when they arrested the man in September.

The head of Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) described the situation as a "foreign policy scandal."

BAMF president Hans-Eckhard Sommer, said that it is standard practice in Europe for embassies to employ local lawyers to investigate asylum claims, Die Welt newspaper reported.

Berlin must 'speak out in protest'

Omid Nouripour, the Greens parliamentary foreign policy expert, told DW that the German government needs to send a clear signal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the issue.

"Arresting a representative of the German embassy is the next stage of provocation from Ankara," Nouripour said, adding that the Turkish government has "violated" diplomatic conventions.

"The German government must finally speak out in protest and put up a stop sign for Erdogan," he added.

Sevim Dagdelen, a member of the German parliament from the Left party with Turkish-Kurdish roots, criticized the Foreign Ministry for not going public with the story for nearly two months.

Speaking with DW, she noted that people seeking protection in Germany "were probably exposed to immediate danger from the Turkish secret service and from Erdogan's network of spies and thugs in Germany."

Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in parliament warned that the Turkish government is risking "a good relationship with Germany if they make carrying out regular embassy work more difficult."

"I don't think the Turkish government is interested in escalating this," Hardt told Die Welt, adding that Ankara should let the lawyer go to avoid worsening ties with Berlin.

DW's Jens Thurau contributed reporting.

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