Turkey seeks 16-year sentence for German journalist Deniz Yucel

Deniz Yucel

An Istanbul prosecutor on Thursday demanded a jail term of up to 16 years for German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel for allegedly disseminating terror propaganda, his lawyer told dpa.

“Yucel is accused of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as well as provoking hatred and hostility among the people,’’ lawyer Veysel Ok said.

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The trial in absentia against Yucel will continue in Istanbul on April 2.

Yucel, the correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt, was imprisoned in Turkey from February 2017 to February 2018, without being charged, at the time triggering a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Ankara.

Yucel was released in February 2018 and returned to Germany.

According to an indictment, Yucel has been accused of having contact with PKK members, and with followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup.

The prosecutor called for Yucel’s acquittal over the alleged Gulen links.

Deniz Yucel

However, the prosecutor demanded that a separate lawsuit be filed against Yucel for “insulting the president” based on an article he wrote in November 2016.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in 2019 that Yucel’s detention was unlawful, adding that his personal rights were violated, along with the freedom of the press.

“The prosecutor either did not read the Constitutional Court decision, or he is ignoring it,’’ Ok told dpa, and called the prosecutor’s demands “illegal”.

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