Turkish PM says he hopes German journalist Yücel will soon be released

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On the first anniversary of the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel last February, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said he hopes Yücel will be released soon.

Yücel was working as a correspondent in Turkey for the German Die Welt newspaper when he was taken into custody by police in İstanbul, on February 14, 2017. A warrant for his arrest was issued a short time later. By March, the 43-year-old journalist was transferred to İstanbul’s maximum-security Silivri Prison and courts complex. Many press and rights advocates consider him a hostage of Turkey’s government. Although he has spent one year in jail, he has not yet been indicted.

During an interview with German broadcaster ARD that will be aired on Thursday, Yıldırım said: “I hope that he [Yücel] will be freed soon. I think there will be a development shortly.”

Yet, he added that it was not up to him but to the courts.

Yıldırım is expected to discuss the case of Yücel and five other German citizens jailed in Turkey with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday. Germany sees the arrest of its citizens as politically motivated.

Last April Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the extradition of Yücel to Germany would never take place as long as he is president.

Erdoğan has on many occasions accused Yücel of being a German agent and a representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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