Yücel was held for 14 days, during which a judge had to decide whether he should be arrested or released. The journalist was then questioned, and now faces jail time and an upcoming trial after a prosecutor recommended his arrest on 27 February.
Although Yücel is the first German journalist to be detained in Turkey, prosecuting foreign journalists seems to be a growing trend under Erdoğan.
Dutch freelancer Fréderike Geerdink, who has been dedicated to covering the Kurdish issue, was briefly detained and then expelled from Turkey in 2015; journalists from Britain and Iraq were arrested as well. Geerdink told the ECPMF that she used to feel safe as a foreigner reporting in Turkey, backed by the clout of European politicians; however, the scenario has changed as Erdoğan has been showing increasing disregard towards “what Europe thinks.”
This has been especially evident since the attempted coup against the regime in July 2016, and the state of emergency declared and extended since.
Reactions from Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the arrest and charges “disproportionate”, and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also expressed disapproval.
"The German government expects that the Turkish judiciary, in its treatment of the Yücel case, takes account of the high value of freedom of the press for every democratic society,” Merkel was quoted as saying. “We will continue to insist on a fair and legal treatment of Deniz Yücel and hope that he will soon regain his freedom."