Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused imprisoned Die Welt reporter Deniz Yucel of being a ‘German agent’ and made critical statements against Germany saying the country supported terrorism.
Tensions between Turkey and Germany have escalated since German daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yucel’s imprisonment in Istanbul on 14 February.
However the cancellation of rallies by Turkish ministers Bekir Bozdag and Nihat Zeybekci in Germany on Thursday took matters to another level. Martin Erdmann, the German ambassador was summoned by ministry officials who protested the decisions.
On Friday President Erdogan described Deniz Yucel as a ‘PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorist’ and claimed that Yucel was also a ‘German agent’.
“This man, a German agent and a representative of the PKK, hid in the German embassy for a month. We asked German authorities to hand him over but they didn’t. Somehow, finally they did and he was arrested.” Erdogan said.
Yucel was officially arrested on charges of “terrorist propaganda” and also “inciting hate and enmity in the public,” on 27 February.
Erdogan also said Turkish authorities had demanded the extradition of “terrorists” from Germany but had been denied several times. The President expressed indignation at the cancellation of the ministers’ rallies and prevention of a video-conference he was due to hold for the constitutional campaign.
“I was about to join a meeting via a video-conference. My speech was banned. Cemil Bayik speaks from Qandil, I can’t. They [German authorities] must be prosecuted for supporting terror,” Erdogan said.
President Erdogan also praised Turkey’s nation-state system saying ‘being one nation, one state, one flag, one homeland’ against threats by other countries was why the people needed to vote for constitutional reform.
Germany has a sizeable population of expatriates from Turkey with figures ranging from three to five million. A significant portion of these are eligible to vote in the upcoming constitutional referendum with ballot boxes to be opened throughout Europe.