German FM negotiated for journalist’s Turkey release - newspaper

A German newspaper has reported that it was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself who gave the order for journalist Deniz Yücel’s release after lengthy, secret talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, left-wing newspaper Evrensel said.

Gabriel had secretly met with Erdoğan at his hotel in Rome during his visit to the Vatican and promised a normalisation between Germany and Turkey in exchange for Yücel’s release, it quoted an article in Süddeutsche Zeitung as saying.

Last week, Gabriel came to Istanbul to meet Erdoğan and discuss the offer in more detail, the German newspaper said.

This was not the first time this type of negotiation had happened, Evrensel said. Former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder had acted as an intermediary in secret talks to free German rights activist Peter Streudtner last year.

“In the end, the secret talks carried out to rescue Deniz Yücel resembled a real hostage rescue operation,” the Turkish newspaper said.