German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said German journalist Deniz Yücel, who has been jailed in Turkey since Feb. 14, is being held hostage by Turkey, Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.
“Deniz Yücel is still in prison because in my opinion Turkey has taken him hostage,” said Gabriel in an interview with Buzzfeed News Deutschland.
Underlining that Berlin might use economic and diplomatic tools to accomplish the release of Yücel, Gabriel said, “We would not occupy Turkey.”
Reiterating a policy change with regard to Turkey, Gabriel said Berlin would not take Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as seriously as before. “For a long time, we have tried a rational stance against him. Sometimes it might be better not to take him so seriously.”
Yücel, who was detained 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 Feb. 27 and sent to Silivri Prison in İstanbul.
In April Erdoğan said the extradition of Turkish-German journalist Yücel to Germany will never take place as long as he is president.
Erdoğan has on many occasions accused Yücel of being a German agent and a representative of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).