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Report: 18 Germans detained in Turkey since failed coup

April 21, 2017

At least 18 German nationals have been detained in Turkey since last year's July 15 failed coup. Some remain behind bars, as the country takes on increasingly authoritarian characteristics after last week's referendum.

Türkei Gefängnis Antalya
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/T. Bozoglu

Five of the 18 German citizens confirmed to have been detained since July 2016 are reportedly still in custody, according to a preview from Saturday's edition of Germany's "Bild" newspaper.

Özcan Mutlu Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Berlin
Green party MP Özcan Mutlu demands that the German government take more responsibility for German nationals in Turkish custodyImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Some of those placed under arrest were reported in Bild as dual nationals. Meanwhile, at least 17 German citizens in Turkey remain barred from leaving the country, according to the daily.

One of those presently in prison in Turkey is the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who worked as a correspondent for "Die Welt" before his arrest.

Yucel has been detained on remand for over two months, facing allegations of inciting hatred and terrorist propaganda.

Germany's Greens demands great protections

Bild reported the numbers based on the German government's answer to a parliamentary enquiry submitted by the Green party, corroborating the number with the German foreign office.

Greens MP Özcan Mutlu told Bild, however, that it was conceivable that there might be "further instances" of such arrests and travel bans.

In the article, Mutlu implored the German government to do everything it could to "protect German citizens from the whims and reprisals of Turkish authorities."

Mutlu himself has a Turkish background like a number of other parliamentarians in the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament.

Dim outlook after referendum

Tens of thousands of people, including almost 150 journalists, have been imprisoned since the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been purging various dissident groups, including ethnic Kurds and supporters of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara has accused of having masterminded the July 15 coup attempt. Gulen and his supporters around the world reject those charges.

Last week's narrow win at the polls for Erdogan's referendum on changing Turkey's government system to a presidential one is expected to consolidate further powers under Erdogan's future leadership, with many opponents fearing growing autocracy or even one-man-rule in Turkey. 

While many Turks have taken to the streets of major cities to protest the outcome of the plebiscite, saying that the vote was rigged, Turkey's Higher Election Board (YSK) has rejected appeals to annul the referendum result.

ss/msh (AFP, dpa)