Deniz Yücel has now been held for precisely one year in a Turkish prison. "The German government is still doing everything in its power at political and diplomatic level to ensure his release," said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert at the government press conference on Wednesday.
He also commented on the fate of the other German nationals imprisoned in Turkey for political reasons. "We have always said that we are working at all levels within the options open to us to secure the release of Deniz Yücel and the others." On Monday, Steffen Seibert declared that the long period of Deniz Yücel’s detention without proper court proceedings being initiated is putting a strain on German-Turkish relations.
On Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Turkish President Binaldi Yildirim at the Federal Chancellery. Steffen Seibert pointed out that the German side seeks dialogue even where opinions diverge.
Swift trial in accordance with the rule of law
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel also stressed that the German government is working for the release of Deniz Yücel and the other Germans held for political reasons in Turkey. "We are continuing to push for a swift trial in accordance with the rule of law," he said.
In dialogue, he said, much has already been achieved. German citizens have been released from prison and allowed to leave the country on the basis of decisions taken by Turkish courts in accordance with the rule of law. "We will do everything in our power to ensure that this can also be achieved with respect to the court’s decision for Deniz Yücel."
Proceedings in front of the European Court of Human Rights
The German Embassy in Turkey is providing consular services to Deniz Yücel. He has so far received eight visits from Embassy staff, reported a Federal Foreign Office spokesperson on Monday at the government press conference.
The spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Justice added that the German government had pointed to the long period of detention of Deniz Yücel in its statement to the European Court of Human Rights. The German side considers that his human rights, as laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights, have been violated as a result of the excessively long period of detention without charge.
Both the Turkish government and Deniz Yücel’s lawyers now have the opportunity to respond by 22 February to the statement made by the German government to the court, he explained. The European Court of Human Rights will then decide whether to grant a hearing or continue with the written procedure.
A total of six German citizens are currently being held in Turkey for reasons that are not apparent. Four of them hold dual citizenship.