German authorities accuse Turkey of politically motivated detentions. As of now, 12 German citizens have been arrested. The country’s consul in Izmir can’t make contact with the last two.

Angela Merkel says arrests of German citizens further worsen strained relations with Turkey. “We must see how things develop, but we are calling now, very clearly, for the release of those who are imprisoned. Several German citizens are being held in prison, which we believe is not justified. We therefore decided to take a new direction in our policy toward Turkey,” CNN quotes her as saying.

Deniz Yucel and his wife. Photo: Dilek Mayaturk

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel was arrested in Turkey in February on charges of terror propaganda. He has been held in custody for over 200 days. Ten more German citizens were arrested in July, including human rights activist Peter Steudtner. They are charged with “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organisation without being a member”.

Dogan Akhanli, a popular Turkish-German writer, was detained in Spain this month, but was later released after a court hearing in Madrid. It confirms Germany’s concerns that Turkey uses Interpol to hunt down Erdogan’s political opponents in Europe.

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