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Turkey denies torture claims by journalist Deniz Yücel

May 12, 2019

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has denied claims that the German-Turkish journalist was tortured in prison near Istanbul. It has also rejected a warning from Germany that Turkey should stick to the UN anti-torture convention.

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Hirschberger

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sunday issued a statement rejecting claims that officers tortured German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel while he was held in pretrial detention at Silivri prison near Istanbul.

"Our country acts in compliance with its international obligations in its fight against torture, as it does in all areas," the ministry statement said.

"Our country thoroughly investigates all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and demonstrates, on every occasion, a transparent position on this issue."

Read more: 'Erdogan let me be tortured in Turkish prison'

Erdogan 'personally responsible'

Testifying before a Berlin district court on Friday, Yücel — a former Turkey correspondent for German daily Die Welt — spoke about being hit, kicked, humiliated and threatened during his near yearlong detention in the prison.

The 45-year-old journalist holds Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally responsible for the alleged psychological and physical violence that he underwent while in prison.

 Yücel's testimony is part of an ongoing trial against him in Turkey, where he is accused of "terrorist propaganda" amongst other charges. Turkish prosecutors have recommended an 18-year prison sentence. A Turkish court recently ruled that Yücel is allowed to testify while in Germany.

Read more: A return to dark days for journalists in Turkey

'Beaten with baseball bats'

Meanwhile, another Turkish journalist, who criticized Erdogan, was beaten by a group of "people with baseball bats," his newspaper said Saturday.

Yavuz Selim Demirag was attacked on Friday night shortly after he moderated a TV talk show during which the recent Istanbul elections were discussed.

Turkey's election council has ordered a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election, which the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) won on March 31.

Six suspects were detained following the attack, Yenicag reported on Sunday.

Election rerun 'makes our democracy stronger'

Read more: Germany slams plan for Istanbul vote rerun

kw/ng (dpa, epd)     

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