Germany says no extradition for Turkish journalist Can Dündar

Germany doesn’t “do extraditions in cases of politically-motivated convictions on principle,” a representative from the country’s Foreign Ministry told Deutsche Welle Turkish on Thursday.

“The German government spends efforts for independent media and independent journalism worldwide,” the representative said, calling for Turkey’s compliance with international standards for democracy, human rights and the rule of law “for good and lasting bilateral relations, and good and lasting relations between Turkey and the European Union.”

The comments were a response to Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun urging Germany to extradite veteran journalist Can Dündar to Turkey, “instead of endorsing his crimes.”

Dündar was convicted to 27 years and 6 months in prison over terrorism and espionage charges on Wednesday, related to opposition daily Cumhuriyet’s coverage of Turkish intelligence service MİT allegedly shipping weapons to jihadist groups in Syria during his time as the paper’s editor-in-chief.

The footage released by Cumhuriyet showed trucks controlled by MİT officials transporting more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition, some 1,000 mortar shells and hundreds of grenade launcher projectiles.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the conviction of Dündar, who has been living in Germany since 2016 because of the accusations, a “hard blow to independent journalistic work in Turkey,” and said journalism was “an indispensable service to society – especially when it critically watches the rulers.”