Turkish authorities have detained another German citizen of Turkish origin, while he was on holiday in southern Turkey, accusing him of spreading terrorist propaganda through his social media account, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on Tuesday citing several German outlets.
Osman B., 36, was detained on July 28 at an airport in the southern province of Antalya where he had flown for a family holiday, according to reports by German public broadcasters NDR, WDR and newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
He is being held as a flight risk.
He facing several years in prison if convicted of the terror propaganda charges.
The German Federal Foreign Office confirmed the detention, saying the German Embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Antalya were involved in the case, DW said.
Osman B. had reportedly admitted sharing posts on Facebook several years ago, but currently regrets them.
He also denied having a second Facebook account, on which he shared pictures of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an insurgent group that has waged a decades-long fight in Turkey for a Kurdish self-rule.
Born in Turkey in 1983, the man reportedly became a German citizen in 2011 and dropped his Turkish citizenship in 2012.
Berthold Fresenius, the detained man’s lawyer, commented on his client’s detention, saying the accusations against Osman B. must be interpreted in the context of remarks made by the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
Soylu had said during an election campaign in March that people in Europe and Germany who attend terrorist organization meetings would be arrested when they arrive in Turkey.
“All right then, let us see. If they dare come, they will be detained as soon as they arrive at the airports and head straight to prison. Impossible, no way!” he said, claiming that it will not be easy for those who act treacherously abroad to then go to Turkey for a vacation.
At the time, the German authorities reacted to the Turkish minister calling the statement unacceptable and worrying.
The German Federal Foreign Office broadened its travel warnings and safety information published in October, advising German citizens to avoid criticising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on social media, and even liking a critical post, if they wanted to visit Turkey.
“We have said [to the Turkish authorities] many times that freedom of press and expression is of great importance to us. We have previously updated [our travel and safety information] warnings [following Soylu’s remarks], saying posts and statements that are covered under freedom of press and expression in Germany can cause problems [prosecutions] in Turkey,” said Maria Adebahr, German Foreign Office spokesperson in answer to a question by German reporters regarding the detention of Osman B. and the previous threatening statements of Soylu.
In recent years, several German Turks, journalist Deniz Yucel, and a tourist were detained in Turkey for political reasons, causing friction between the two countries. Most of the detained German citizens have been released since then, with seven having currently been held in prison.
Moreover, the latest peculiar decision is that of Turkey’s refusal to renew the credentials of German journalists who work in Turkey.