The journalist deniz yucel, who was released from turkish prison after one year, denounced turkey as an arbitrary state after his departure from the country. Many people are only in prison there because they "have an oppositional opinion to this regime," he said in a video message.
The 44-year-old "welt" correspondent had been in custody without charge on terror charges.
Yucel had landed in berlin late friday evening coming from istanbul. Saturday afternoon, according to his own statements, he was already abroad again. "I am not in germany. But I am among friends," he wrote on twitter. On an attached photo he shows himself with his wife and surrounded by eight other people on a meadow. It seems to be quite warm, as most are wearing only shirts and t-shirts respectively.
Welt" editor-in-chief ulf poschardt called for yucel to be left alone. He tweeted: "deniz is fine, enjoying his life in freedom, we leave him alone". Agree?"
About his time in prison, yucel said: "i still don’t know why i was arrested a year ago, or more precisely, why i was taken as a hostage a year ago". And i also don’t know why i was released today."And adds that he actually knows this quite well: "just as my arrest has nothing to do with law and order (…), my release has nothing to do with any of this." his conclusion: "of course I am pleased. But something bitter remains."
Relations between germany and turkey had already plunged into a serious crisis after the attempted coup in turkey in 2016. Ankara declared a state of emergency, called for "cleansing" and has since arrested more than 50 people.000 people. But the roughest point of contention with berlin was most recently yucel’s arrest in february 2017.
On friday, the journalist was suddenly released from prison, his wife, dilek mayaturk yucel, embraced him at the prison gate. The two had married in april 2017 in the prison in silivri west of istanbul.
The public prosecutor’s office continues to accuse yucel of terrorist support and incitement of the people and demands between four and 18 years imprisonment. Yucel and the federal government had rejected the accusations as absurd.
Despite yucel’s release, auben minister sigmar gabriel (SPD) still sees hurdles on the way to normalizing severely damaged relations with turkey. But he also cherishes hope for improvement. "We must, I believe, use this momentum now to revive all language formats with turkey – knowing that this will not be easy, knowing that this will not lead to very easy times overnight," the SPD politician said at the munich security conference in response to a query. "I don’t know any other method than to take advantage of good situations to head for the better ones."Turkish prime minister binali yildirim even spoke of a normalization of german-turkish relations in the near future.
Gabriel listed some of the developments in turkey since the 2016 coup attempt that are of particular concern to berlin. Talks with ankara must be about difficult issues such as rebuilding an independent judiciary, human rights and freedom of the press in turkey, he stressed. There will be no immediate agreement. "But without talking to the turkish side, I didn’t know how to move forward."According to gabriel, there was no german consideration for yucel’s release.
Yildirim, on the other hand, tried to play down the significance of the yucel case and to portray relations with germany as almost normal again. "Individual cases like that of deniz yucel are not capable of disrupting or completely destroying our relations," he told the german press agency on the sidelines of the munich security conference. German arms deliveries and the future of the EU accession talks with turkey were the most recent points of contention.
Union faction leader volker kauder (CDU) dampens hopes for a better relationship with turkey. The release of yucel does not mean that all problems have been solved, he told the "rheinische post" (saturday). "We are only thinking of other detainees, including germans, who are also being held in prisons under conditions that are questionable from the point of view of the rule of law"."
Like yucel, grunen politician cem ozdemir described turkey as an arbitrary and unjust state. For president recep tayyip erdogan, yucel had fulfilled his function, so the journalist could be released, the former head of the green party told the swabian newspaper.
Yucel, on the other hand, was sharply attacked by the leader of the afd parliamentary group in the bundestag, alice weidel. She called him an "anti-german hate preacher". On facebook, weidel wrote that calling yucel a "german journalist" was "two fakenews in one sentence.
It goes on to say: "a journalist who really hates our country", someone who has not only once overstepped the boundaries of good taste should not be a german citizen."Weidel referred to earlier articles by yucel in which he had written about the "death of the germans" and wished the controversial author thilo sarrazin a stroke.