Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued on Sunday to criticize Germany and Deniz Yücel, the arrested reporter of German daily Die Welt, saying Yücel is not a journalist but a terrorist.
“Chancellor [Merkel] told me when she came here… She said, ‘You have a detained journalist [Deniz Yücel]. We would be happy if you release him.’ I told her: ‘He is not a journalist, he is a terrorist. He is a terrorist. This man is a terrorist, not a journalist.’ And now, the German administration has put my ministers on the same level as this terrorist. This is the problem,” said Erdoğan during a program in Istanbul.
Erdoğan also repeated his claims that Yücel, who was arrested on Monday, had been hiding in the German Consulate General in İstanbul for a month.
President Erdoğan on Friday called Yücel a “German agent” and a “representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]”.
A German official told Reuters on Saturday that the allegations of Erdoğan were absurd.
Yücel, who was detained in Turkey on Feb. 14 as part of an investigation for publishing stories on the leaked emails of President Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, was arrested by a court on Monday.
The prosecutor had accused Yücel of “disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “inciting people to hatred and enmity.”
Erdoğan also criticized Berlin for harboring Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, who has been in exile in Germany.
“This guy has been found guilty, but you reward him with a medal. You [Germany] should be tried for aiding and abetting terrorism.”
Turkey issued an arrest warrant for Dündar, who has been living in Germany since June 2016, for his story published in 2015 about weapons-laden Turkish trucks bound for Syria. Following his story, President Erdoğan personally targeted him, calling him a traitor.
The Özgürüz (We Are Free) website, a German-based online news website launched on Jan. 24 by Can Dündar, has been blocked in Turkey.