German-Turkish journalist Adil Demirci forced to stay in Turkey | News | DW | 30.04.2019
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German-Turkish journalist Adil Demirci forced to stay in Turkey

Journalist and activist Adil Demirci was arrested in Istanbul last year and accused of being a member of the MLKP, deemed a terror group in Turkey. Demirci was in Turkey to help his mother, who is suffering from cancer.

Adil Demirci, a Cologne-based journalist and social worker, must remain in Turkey after an Istanbul court rejected his application to lift a travel ban.

Demirci, a 33-year-old freelancer from the ETHA news agency who holds both German and Turkish passports, was arrested in April 2018 during a holiday trip with his mother in Istanbul. The purpose of the trip was to improve his mother's health; she is suffering from cancer.

Prosecutors have accused him of being a member of the left-wing extremist Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which Turkey has deemed a terrorist organization.

Demirci was released from custody in mid-February after 10 months behind bars, but has not been allowed to leave Istanbul since his release. He now has to wait until October 15 until his next hearing. 

"It is very disappointing," Demirci said on Tuesday. "I expected that I would be able to return [to Germany]."

New charges

At his hearing on Tuesday, the judge also presented new charges accusing Demirci of having conducted "courier services in Syria and Iraq," allegations based on a secret service report.

Prosecutors have based the accusation on the fact that, in 2013, Demirci had attended the funerals of MLKP members who fought in northern Syria alongside the Kurdish YPG militia against the "Islamic State" militant group.

Demirci's case has been followed closely in Germany and his hometown, Cologne. Anke Brunn, a local Cologne politician for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), attended the Istanbul hearing with SPD member of parliament Rolf Mützenich. Brunn criticized the new charges as "infuriating" and inadmissible." 

"Unfortunately, one has the impression that someone is trying to raise new allegations because the previous allegations are too thin," Brunn said. "That is rather disappointing. I had wanted to bring him back to Cologne."

dv/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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