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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Turkey bars German man from leaving country 

Forty nine Germans are currently jailed in Turkey according to foreign ministry

Germany warned citizens visiting Turkey to be extra cautious about their social media feeds in response to a spate of cases of Germans arrested for online criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Reuters
Germany warned citizens visiting Turkey to be extra cautious about their social media feeds in response to a spate of cases of Germans arrested for online criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Reuters

Germany's foreign ministry said on Monday it was providing consular aid to a German man barred from leaving Turkey after the authorities accused him of supporting a terrorist organisation on social media.

German media reported that Adnan Sutcu, 56, was detained shortly after arriving in Ankara on December 27 to attend his mother's funeral.

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other outlets, the authorities accused Mr Sutcu of writing Facebook posts calling for an independent Kurdistan, which is illegal in Turkey. Mr Sutcu was questioned by police and then released, but told to report to authorities daily and not to leave the country before a court reviews his case next year, the reports said. "We are aware of the case and the embassy is providing consular aid," a source at the German foreign ministry said.

The ministry source said 49 Germans are currently jailed in Turkey, including five held for "apparently political reasons".

In October Germany warned citizens visiting Turkey to be extra cautious about their social media feeds in response to a spate of cases of Germans arrested for online criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Reuters could not reach officials at the Turkish justice ministry for comment.

Mr Sutcu, who has lived in Germany for decades, told the media outlets he had never supported a terrorist organisation, and it was unclear which group he was accused of backing.

According to a summary of Mr Sutcu's interrogation, he told Turkish officials he could not remember if he had posted the messages on Facebook and said he rejected violence.

The Turkish state has been waging a war for decades against the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, a conflict that has intensified since a ceasefire collapsed in 2015. The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Turkey and the European Union.

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Updated: January 1, 2019 12:22 PM

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