Merkel says insistent talks with Turkey enabled release of some Germans from jail

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BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 29 : German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a press conference at the Federal Press Office in Berlin, Germany on August 29, 2017. AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said insistent efforts by the German government made possible the release of some Germans from jail in Turkey, Deutsche Welle’s Turkish edition reported on Thursday.

Speaking to the RTL/ntv stations for a summer interview on Thursday, Merkel talked about German citizens jailed in Turkey whose situation has led to tension between Ankara and Berlin.

Noting that there are significant disagreements between the two countries concerning the situation of the jailed German citizens, Merkel said, “Insistent talks [with Turkey] have made the release of some jailed German citizens possible.”

The German chancellor also said her government would continue to exert efforts for the release of the remaining Germans in Turkish jails.

The German citizens were jailed in Turkey as part of an ongoing government crackdown on its critics that accelerated in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016 resulting in the elimination of civil liberties and the mass arrest of political opponents, activists and journalists, including German citizens.

In February 2017, Turkey arrested Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist, on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Turkish-German journalist Meşale Tolu was arrested on terror charges in May 2017.

In July 2017, Turkish authorities arrested German human rights activist Peter Steudtner and nine others, charging them with “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member of it.”

Yücel, Tolu and Steudner were all released after spending time in prison due to talks between the Turkish and German governments. Yet, there are more Germans who are still in pretrial detention in Turkey.

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