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German reporter Yucel marries in Turkish jail

April 12, 2017

Journalist Deniz Yucel has married his girlfriend in a prison near Istanbul, where he is awaiting trial for "inciting hatred" and "terrorist propaganda." Berlin and Ankara are locked in a struggle over his fate.

Deniz Yücel
Yucel was born to Turkish parents in Germany, near MainzImage: picture-alliance/Eventpress

The 43-year-old reporter married TV producer Dilek Mayaturk in Silivri Prison on Wednesday, with his lawyer Ferat Cagil and Turkish opposition member of parliament Safak Pavey serving as witnesses. A registrar for Silivri officiated the private ceremony, the German daily "Die Welt" reported.

Yucel's colleagues congratulated him on his marriage with a tweet from the paper's offices in Berlin.

Yucel was  denained in mid-February on suspicions of spreading propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement. The dual Turkish-German national has regular contact with his lawyer and close family members, although some Turkish officials have managed to visit him in Silivri. 

Ankara only allowed German General Consul Georg Birgelen to visit Yucel last week.

Erdogan calls Yucel 'German spy'

Deniz Yücel
Yucel was born to Turkish parents in Germany, near MainzImage: picture-alliance/Eventpress

Germany and Turkey have clashed over Yucel, who was in Turkey to cover the wide-spread crackdown after the failed coup in July. The "Die Welt" reporter was initially detained after reporting on emails allegedly coming from the private account of Berat Albayrak, Turkey's energy minister and the son-in-law of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Yucel is the first German reporter to be arrested in the crackdown, although some 150 journalists have been detained in Turkey. Berlin has demanded his release, but the demands were flatly rejected by Ankara, with President Erdogan labeling the reporter a "terrorist agent" and a "German spy."

"Thank God he has been arrested," the Turkish president said in March.

Yucel could face over 10 years in jail if he is convicted on charges for producing terrorist propaganda and incitement to hatred.

dj/kms (dpa, AFP, epd)