Erdogan closes door on repatriation of imprisoned journalist Deniz Yucel

People protest in Germany for the release of Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel (© dpa)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has closed the door on the possible repatriation of imprisoned German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel to Germany.

Speaking on Turkish broadcaster TGRT, the president commented on the Die Welt journalist, who was arrested after reporting on the hacked emails of Energy Minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, saying:

“I told [Angela] Merkel that he [Yucel] would first appear in court and be tried. ‘If he has done no wrong our courts are more just than yours and he will be released’ I told her, and she couldn’t respond. He later appeared in court and was arrested and is now inside.”

Erdogan claimed that Yucel had links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and that they had proof of this, saying, “He is a complete spy and terrorist.”

Regarding the German government’s application for Yucel’s return to Germany, the president said, “On no condition will this be possible, not as long as I am in office.”

Yucel was detained on 14 February and formally arrested for “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation” as well as “inciting hate and enmity in the public” on 27 February. He has been kept in solitary confinement since.