Turkish justice minister pens letter criticizing German counterpart

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has penned a letter to his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, in response to an earlier letter by Maas that demanded the release of jailed Die Welt reporter Deniz Yücel.

“Instead of writing a letter, which is full of unjust and unfounded allegations against Turkey, and which is incompatible with the principles of diplomatic courtesy, instead of worrying about terrorists and putschists, I would rather you spent your precious working hours to end the regulations, which are not compatible with the principle of the rule of law, against foreigners living in Germany, including the Turkish community,” Bozdağ said in his letter. 

According to Justice Ministry sources, Bozdağ responded to the letters Maas sent on July 19, 2016 and March 2 in a single letter.

In his letter, Bozdağ said the judicial authority was used by independent courts on behalf of the Turkish nation, and that it was not possible that any organ, authority or a person can order or give instructions to judges and courts. 

“The Turkish judiciary, in accordance with the principles stated in our constitution, rules independently and impartially, without taking any orders from authorities and posts,” he said. 

“Deniz Yücel, whom you mentioned in your last letter, was arrested on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting people to hatred and hostility, not because of his journalistic activity as you claim,” Bozdağ said. 

“It is not clear to which concrete information your allegations, which the named person has been subjected to disproportionate treatment, are based on, and where you have obtained this information from. All the implementations are within the criteria of the rule of law,” he added.

Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested on Feb. 27 on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting public violence, after first being detained on Feb. 14.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after the arrest of Yücel, who President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused of being a “German spy” and a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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