Turkey indicts journalist Yucel, decides to free him pending trial

Binali Yıldırım

Turkey has released German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel after more than one year in prison, his employer, German newspaper die Welt, said on its website Friday, quoting Yucel's lawyer.

Germany's foreign minister later told reporters that Yucel was on his way to an Istanbul airport and can "freely leave Turkey".

Yücel, Die Welt's Istanbul correspondent who was arrested on February 14, was accused of spreading terror propaganda for the PKK and inciting hatred. He denies the accusations.

"I'm pleased, just like many, many others, that he was able to leave jail today", said Merkel, who on Thursday held talks in Berlin with Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The high-profile case of German newspaper Die Welt journalist Mr Yucel has put a significant strain on relations between the two countries.

"Finally! Best news ever".

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Mr Yucel, who has German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested in Istanbul on February 14 a year ago on terrorism and propaganda charges.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the detention of Yucel, and other German citizens, "clouded" the relations and marked a continuing "burden".

The spokeswoman said that Berlin had not agreed to any "dirty deals or other arrangements" to secure the release.

After the report, Yucel, who has both German and Turkish citizenship, was accused by Turkey's authorities of writing terrorist propaganda in favor of Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government identifies as a key player in the failed attempted coup in July of 2016.

Since then, over 55,000 people have been arrested in a widescale crackdown against suspected coup-plotters and alleged members of terrorist organisations, which has been criticised by Berlin and Turkeys other Western allies.

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