German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called on Turkey to release Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, who has been jailed since Feb. saying that she does not have a bigger wish other than his release.
Referring to German citizens imprisoned in Turkey, Merkel said: “our demand is very clear: those people who are in prison should be freed.”
Turkey recently arrested 10 Germans including a human rights defender and journalists, whose imprisonment Merkel called “unjustified.”
The arrests have escalated tension between two NATO allies, causing a diplomatic spat between officials from Berlin and Ankara.
“We would like better relations, but that has something to do with the fulfillment of the principles of the rule of law,” she added, questioning Turkey’s commitment to the rule of law and human rights.
Yücel, a reporter for German daily Die Welt, who was detained in Turkey on Feb. 14 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, was arrested by a court on Feb. 27 and sent to Silivri Prison in İstanbul.
The prosecutor had accused Yücel of “disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “inciting people to hatred and enmity.”
In April Erdoğan said the extradition of Turkish-German journalist Yücel to Germany will never take place as long as he is president.