Sep 07 2018

Merkel's statements prove Turkey's judiciary is not independent - Cumhuriyet

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the insistent negotiations with Ankara had enabled the release of some German citizens arrested in Turkey, the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said on Friday.

“Still, there are German citizens in Turkey's prisons. But, we will continue to strive in to free them. The insistent talks with Ankara have enabled the release of some German citizens,"  Cumhuriyet quoted Merkel as saying in an interview with German RTL television.

Merkel’s comments showed "German citizens were released based on Ankara's will, not on the decision of the judiciary," Cumhuriyet said, pointing that the statement contradicts Ankara’s repeated calls for respect to an independent judiciary in Turkey as a response to foreign governments criticising the deterioration of the rule of law in Turkey.

Deniz Yücel, a German journalist for Die Welt who had been in jail in Turkey for a year with the accusations of spreading terrorist propaganda, was released after long negotiations between Ankara and Berlin. Berlin had vowed to block major arms sales to Turkey until Yücel's case is resolved but Yücel rejected any trade-off that would free him in exchange for new arms sales.

In a press conference in February 2018, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel thanked the Turkish government, and especially his counterpart Mevlut Cavosoglu, for their cooperation on Yucel's case, describing it as "an example of how diplomacy and vigilance can pay off."

Recently, Turkey faces one of the worst currency crisis in its history as the U.S. President Donald Trump introduces sanctions and tariffs in retaliation to American pastor Brunson's detention in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. At the beginning of the crisis with the United States, "You have one pastor as well. Give him (Gulen) to us... Then we will try him (Brunson) and give him to you," Erdoğan said in a speech to police officers in September 2017. Then, changing his tune on Aug. 1, Erdoğan told Turkey would not make compromises regarding the independence of the judiciary, referring to Trump's request to release Brunson.