German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on relations with Turkey and the potential operation against Idlib in the “summer interview” she gave the RTL/NTV stations.
Merkel noted that “persistent talks” conducted with Turkey had secured the release of certain German citizens.
“THERE ARE SERIOUS DIFFERENCES OF OPINION”
Mentioning “serious differences of opinion” between Turkey and Germany over developments in Turkey and German citizens detained in Turkey, Merkel said, “There are German citizens who are still in jail in Turkey. Our efforts will continue to secure their release.” The German chancellor noted that “persistent talks” conducted with Turkey had secured the release of certain German citizens.
Referring to the uncertainty of the situation in the Middle East, Merkel said, “It is important in this regard for a bridge to be set up and for there to be reconciliation with Turkey. In spite of everything, differences of opinion will be discussed openly.”
YÜCEL SPOKE OF NO RELATION TO THE RULE OF LAW
German citizen, journalist Deniz Yücel, who was released following his detention in Turkey, said the following in the statement he made following his release, describing his period of detention as “my being taken captive”:
“Today, while I was coming out of prison, I was given a paper dated 13 February from Penal Judgeship of the Peace No 3 reading ‘continuation of detention.’ But I still came out. Meanwhile, I still don’t know why I came out and why I was detained one year ago. Never mind, it doesn’t matter. In the end, I know that neither my being detained one year ago, more correctly my being taken captive, nor my being released this year bear the slightest relation to the rule of law. Everyone who sees this situation will realise this. Yes, I have gained my freedom, but I have left my cell mate, my colleague Oğuz Uslueri and my friend Ahmet Şık behind. I have left behind my friends who have been detained purely and simply for doing their jobs and simply for being in the opposition. There is a bitterness inside me because of this. But, I’m sure these days will pass. This will not be the end of the story.”
Die Welt newspaper’s reporter, Deniz Yücel, was released on 16 February after having been held in jail for more than a year without indictment. While still in detention, Yücel had spoken of not wishing for his freedom to be tainted with trade in tanks, but despite this German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said there had been no dirty deal with Turkey. Repeating similar comments following Yücel's release, Gabriel said, “"There were no clean or dirty deals related to Yücel's release.”