Berlin summoned Turkey’s ambassador over detention of activist

Vastavam web:  Berlin today summoned Turkey’s ambassador over the detention of a German human rights activist and issued a fresh warning about the NATO partner’s respect for the rule of law.”The Turkish government needs to immediately and directly hear the German government’s outrage and incomprehension as well as its crystal-clear expectations in the case of Peter Steudtner, and this time without diplomatic niceties,” foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.Berlin demanded Steudtner’s “immediate release” as well as consular access.

“The Turkish government representative said he would deliver this message immediately” to Ankara.A Turkish court yesterday ordered six human rights activists including Amnesty International’s Turkey director to remain in custody for allegedly aiding a “terror” group, a charge Schaefer branded “absurd”.Schaefer said Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel would interrupt his summer holidays and return to Berlin over the “dramatic escalation in Turkish actions” to determine which “further measures” could be taken.Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, particularly since the failed coup attempt a year ago against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One dispute centres on Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist with the Berlin-based newspaper Die Welt, who was imprisoned by Turkey on terror charges earlier this year.Schaefer also mentioned the ongoing detention of German reporter Mesale Tolu, who has been in Turkish custody since April.Last week Turkey asked legislators to postpone a scheduled visit to a NATO base in Konya, the German foreign ministry said, expressing “regret” about the decision.The dispute came after Germany last month pulled out 260 troops from Turkey’s Incirlik base, from where a multinational coalition is fighting the Islamic State jihadist group, and redeployed them and their Tornado surveillance jets to Jordan