Dec 21 2017

Germany should send observers to Turkish trials of Germans - deputy

German members of parliament should attend in trials of German citizens in Turkey as observers, Heike Hänsel, the deputy chairman of Germany’s Left Party said.

“The German federal parliament should be more involved and give support to their defence,” German broadcaster DW’s Turkish service quoted Hänsel as saying.

Germany’s federal parliament assigned Hänsel to watch the trials of journalist and translator Meşale Tolu and academic Sharo Garip, both German citizens.

Tolu was freed on bail at his trial, and a ban on Garip leaving Turkey was lifted. Another German citizen, human rights activist Peter Steudtner was earlier released on bail and returned to Germany.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was reported to have negotiated Steudtner’s release.

But Hänsel said these results were not sufficient as those German citizens released on bail were still on trial on serious terrorism-related charges.

Turkey’s relations with Germany, its biggest trading partner, have been strained since German authorities banned Turkish political rallies in Germany ahead of April’s constitutional referendum. Germany has also refused to immediately extradite Turkish citizens accused by Ankara of involvement in last year’s failed coup. The arrest of German citizens in Turkey has added to the strain.

“The improvement of relations between Turkey and Germany is very far off,” Hänsel said.

Another German-Turkish dual citizen, the Turkey correspondent Die Welt newspaper, Deniz Yücel, has been jailed in Turkey since February, but has ye to be indicted.