Two Turkish journalists were released several hours after their arrest by the German police on Wednesday, sparking a diplomatic row between Ankara and Berlin, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Ismail Erel and Cemil Albay, senior journalists working for Turkish daily, Sabah, were arrested in the early hours of the day, after dozens of police personnel raided their homes in Frankfurt. Their phones, laptops and electronic storage devices were also seized by the police.
Fatih Zingal, a lawyer representing the newspaper said, according to initial information, the two journalists were arrested upon a complaint by the followers of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation.
“German authorities could have invited journalists and directed their questions about this complaint. Instead of this, they arrested them and seized their mobile phones and laptops,” he said.
Zingal stressed that Erel and Colonel are professional journalists, and their arrest simply for their journalist work is completely unacceptable.
The arrests triggered protests from local journalist associations, while the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the German ambassador to Ankara, Jurgen Schulz, and demanded the immediate release of the journalists.
“The detention of Frankfurt Bureau of Sabah newspaper by the German police today without justification is an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press. We strongly condemn this heinous act,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Germany, which attempts to lecture the world about freedom of the press and freedom of expression, reveals its double-standard approach,” it added.