By Ayhan Simsek
MUNICH (AA) - Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has welcomed a Turkish court's decision to release German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who was arrested last year on suspicion of spreading terrorist propaganda.
“I very much welcome this ruling of the Turkish judiciary,” he said in a press release on Friday, and thanked the Turkish government for its efforts in this regard.
“Turkish government has always underlined that it would not exert any political influence on the court’s decision. The independence of courts have always been a central issue in our discussions,” he said.
Gabriel also thanked his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, with whom he held many meetings in recent months to resolve the issues between Ankara and Berlin.
The arrest of Yucel and around a dozen German citizens, on suspicion of aiding terrorist groups, had been a source of friction between the two countries.
Despite repeated calls by German politicians for the release of their citizens, the Turkish government ruled out any political influence on the judiciary and advised them to wait for the decision of its courts.
Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for German daily Die Welt, was arrested in February 2017 on suspicion of spreading terror propaganda for the PKK terror group and inciting hatred.
The 32nd High Penal Court in Istanbul ordered on Friday his release from custody pending trial.
The court also accepted an indictment against Yucel demanding up to 18 years in prison on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda and inciting public hatred and enmity.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Berlin said the Turkish courts were overloaded due to cases related to the 2016 defeated coup, but added he hoped a development regarding Yucel would take place soon.