Turkey slammed Germany on Thursday for its statements demanding the release of a German human rights activist, describing it as “unacceptable” and an attempt to interfere with the Turkish judiciary.
In a statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry said they have kept Germany’s charge d’affaires in Ankara informed of Peter Steudtner’s case, adding that “the independent Turkish judiciary must be trusted.” There were no impediments to consular access, according to the statement.
A Turkish court on Tuesday arrested Steudtner for alleged links to terror groups pending trial. Steudtner was in Turkey to attend a digital security workshop for activists when the group was detained in a police raid earlier this month.
Amnesty International says Steudtner was providing training on non-violence and wellbeing.
Four prominent rights defenders from Turkey, including Amnesty’s country director Idil Eser, were ordered jailed. Information technology trainer Ali Gharavi_a Swede_was also arrested. It’s unclear which terror group they are accused of aiding.
The Turkish foreign ministry said statements by the spokesmen for the German chancellor and foreign ministry on Wednesday constituted “diplomatic rudeness” and said the judiciary cannot be instructed or counseled by anyone.
The foreign ministry accused Germany of holding a “double standard,” saying it harbors members of terror groups and prevents their trial.
Already in prison are two Turkish-German journalists, Deniz Yucel and Mesale Tolu, who have been accused of aiding terror groups.
On Wednesday, Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that two German journalists being held in Turkey were apparently being associated with terrorists on political orders from the Turkish government.
Following a failed coup attempt last summer, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and 110,000 dismissed from their jobs for alleged links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and other terror groups.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said the activists were involved in a meeting that had the “nature of a continuation” of the coup attempt.