German foreign minister protests arrest of embassy lawyer

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has protested the arrest of a lawyer working for Germany's embassy in Turkey during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu.

Maas told Çavuşoğlu that Germany regarded the arrest of Yılmaz Sunar as incomprehensible and that Berlin had "no understanding for it" on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Nagoya, Deutsche Welle reported on Saturday.

The September arrest of Sunar, who is accused of espionage, has sparked outrage in Germany, with officials across the political spectrum urging for the lawyer's release.

Sunar, currently held in Ankara’s Sincan prison, had been commissioned by German authorities to identify the grounds for Turkey's pursuit of exiles, even to the extent of viewing files of Turkish prosecutors, Deutsche Welle said. 

The German Foreign Ministry, for its part, has declared Sunar’s work a typical Europe-wide procedure and "legitimate assistance," it said. 

Berlin maintains concerns that the Turkish authorities have gathered sensitive information about 50 asylum seekers from Turkey, including some important Kurdish activists and supporters of Gülen movement, which Ankara accuses of masterminding the 2016 failed coup, Der Spiegel reported on Wednesday.

Turkey has called for the extradition from Germany of dozens of people, including suspected coup leaders, exiled Turkish NATO officers and alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Peoples Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish-self rule for over three decades, Deutsche Welle said.