Erdoğan offered hostage swap for jailed German journalist, Spiegel says
In his conversation with the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered to release Die Welt’s jailed Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel in exchange of Turkish officials, who sought asylum in Germany, be extradited, Germany’s leading online portal Spiegel Online reported.
Turkey demanded extradition of several Turkish generals who had fled to Germany and applied for asylum, Spiegel wrote, but “Schröder rejected the demand as unacceptable.” Spiegel noted that such a deal is not possible under German law.
Spiegel had reported in October that Schröder’s meeting with Erdoğan was instrumental in getting German human rights activist Peter Steudtner released.
The terms of the deal was kept secret, even before the parliament, causing sharp criticism from the opposition, Spiegel wrote, but the deal is “reminiscent of an exchange of hostages among criminals” Spiegel wrote.
When asked whether he wants Germany to exert political pressure on Turkey for his release, journalist Deniz Yücel has said "I want a fair trial... All I wish is justice."
Experts are already discussing Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ especially after Erdoğan publicly offered to release an American pastor jailed in Turkey in return of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen who Ankara accuses for masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.
Two Russian murders suspects were sent back to Russia last week, allegedly as part of a deal with Moscow with the consent of Erdoğan and Turkey’s justice minister.
Exchange of foreign-national prisoners was legalised by Executive Order 694 in August.