Berlin says not informed of German reporter’s detention in Turkey

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ETHA reporter Meşale Tolu

German officials said on Friday that Turkish authorities had failed to inform Berlin about the detention of Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Meşale Tolu, who has been arrested and held in pre-trial detention since April 30.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Friday,  German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schafer said no German diplomats had managed to gain access to her since her arrest on April 30.

Underlining that Turkey’s action is regrettable, Schafer said, “It is important to us that we can take care of her as a German citizen.”

According to Deutsche Welle (DW), Tolu, who was born and raised in Germany, became a German citizen 10 years ago after relinquishing her Turkish citizenship.

Tolu was reportedly taken into custody on allegations of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization as well as membership in a terrorist group, DW said.

DW added that Tolu’s husband Suat Çorlu is also behind bars and facing similar charges.
Tolu’s work was published primarily by the private ETHA news agency and the Netherlands-based Fırat News Agency (ANF), which the Turkish government claims is linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

She also worked for Özgür Radyo (Free Radio), which was closed down as part of a government purge of Turkish media following a failed coup last summer.

Turkey’s relations with Germany became strained after Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist for Die Welt, was arrested in February on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

The strains were aggravated due to Germany’s refusal to allow Turkish ministers to conduct campaign rallies before an April 16 referendum that introduced an executive presidency in Turkey and greatly expanded Presidency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers.

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