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Germany summons Turkish ambassador over 'press freedom' row

May 24, 2023

The German government said it rejected allegations of having violated press freedom after the detention of two Turkish journalists in Germany.

Turkish ambassador Ahmet Basar Sen speaking in Berlin
Germany summoned Turkish ambassadsor Ahmet Basar Sen over Ankara's allegations that Berlin had arrested two Turkish journalistsImage: Abdulhamid Hosbas/AA/picture alliance

Germany summoned the Turkish ambassador on Tuesday.

Berlin told the envoy that it rejected Turkey's allegations of having violated press freedom.

What was the Germany-Turkey row over press freedom about?

Last week, Ankara summoned Germany's ambassador after claiming two Turkish reporters had been detained in Frankfurt.

The two reporters worked for the Frankfurt bureau of Turkish daily Sabah.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said it informed Ankara's envoy that "the German government firmly rejects the accusations of the Turkish government regarding freedom of speech and the press as well as the judiciary in Germany."

A local German prosecutor denied that the journalists were under arrest. He confirmed that the pair had been charged with the "dangerous dissemination of personal data."

Turkey's Foreign Ministry had denounced what it called the "harassment and intimidation" of the journalists, saying that it amounted to an "action against the free press."

It said that the alleged arrests were a "deliberate act."

Fahrettin Altun, who serves as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's media director, condemned what he called "Germany's stance on silencing journalists" and expressed concern "about the repression of press freedom in this country."

Turkey in election season

The controversy comes days after the first round of elections in Turkey. Erdogan came in first place in the first round, coming ahead of secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The two face each other in a runoff on Sunday. 

The Turkish diaspora in Germany accounts for almost half of the more than three million overseas Turks that voted in the election. Erdogan received 65% of the vote in Germany.

Sabah belongs to the Turkuvaz Media Group, which has ties to Erdogan's family.

sdi/rt (AFP, Reuters, dpa)