Germany releases 2 Turkish journalists hours after controversial arrest
Two Turkish journalists were released several hours after their arrest by the German police on Wednesday, sparking a diplomatic row between Ankara and Berlin, News.az reports citing Anadolu.
Ismail Erel and Cemil Albay, senior journalists working for Turkish daily Sabah, were arrested in the early hours of the day, after dozens of police personnel raided their homes in Frankfurt. Their phones, laptops and electronic storage devices were also seized by the police.
Fatih Zingal, a lawyer representing the newspaper, said according to initial information, the two journalists were arrested upon a complaint by the followers of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
“German authorities could have invited journalists and directed their questions about this complaint. Instead of this, they arrested them and seized their mobile phones and laptops,” he said.
Zingal stressed that Erel and Albay are professional journalists, and their arrest simply for their journalist work is completely unacceptable.
The arrests triggered protests from local journalist associations, while the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the German ambassador to Ankara, Jurgen Schulz, and demanded the immediate release of the journalists.
"The detention of Frankfurt Bureau representatives of Sabah newspaper by the German police today without justification is an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press. We strongly condemn this heinous act," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Germany, which attempts to lecture the world about freedom of the press and freedom of expression, reveals its double-standard approach,” it added.
The Turkish language daily Sabah has widely covered the activities of FETO, which orchestrated a defeated coup attempt in Türkiye on July 15, 2016, and received numerous threats from the extremist group.
The German government’s tolerance towards FETO and its reluctance to extradite key suspects to Türkiye, including ex-generals, bureaucrats or prosecutors involved in the 2016 coup plot, has been a major source of tension between Berlin and Ankara in recent years.