German journalist returns from Turkey as she awaits trial

by The Region   Reuters  


German journalist Mesale Tolu travelled from Istanbul to Stuttgart on Sunday (August 26), after Turkey reversed its decision to ban her from leaving the country while she awaits trial.

Tolu was charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation and publishing terrorist propaganda after the 2016 failed coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan. She was released from prison in December after eight months in detention.

Speaking to journalists at Stuttgart airport, Tolu described how masked armed police officers stormed her home in the middle of the night in April last year, waking her sleeping son and subjecting her to abuse as they searched the apartment before arresting her.

The journalist vowed to keep fighting for those imprisoned in the crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt.

"I may be here today, but hundreds of colleagues, opposition activists, lawyers, students - 70,000 students are in prison - are still not free. So I can't be really happy about leaving the country where I was in prison, because I know that nothing has changed there," she said.

She added that she would return to Turkey to appear in court despite the fear that she might be arrested again. Tolu's husband Suat Corlu, also a journalist, is facing similar charges and has not been allowed to leave the country.

Germany has demanded the release of several of its citizens, some of Turkish origin, as a necessary step to improve ties with Turkey.

Relations between the NATO partners soured after Germany condemned Turkey's arrests of some 50,000 people, and the suspension or firing of 150,000 others, including teachers, judges and soldiers.

Ties have improved in recent months, especially after Turkey released German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in February.