A Turkish court in Istanbul on Thursday sentenced Die Welt journalist Deniz Yücel to two years and nine months in prison year in a case that massively strained ties between Ankara and Berlin.
Yücel, who is currently living in Germany and did not attend the more than two-year trial, was convicted by the court of “incitement to hatred” and producing “terror propaganda” in the articles he wrote for the German newspaper as Turkey correspondent.
Among other things, Yücel, who has both German and Turkish citizenship, was accused of spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK) — a group that is outlawed in Turkey.
Yücel spent one year in prison in Turkey without being charged after being arrested there on February 14, 2017. His arrest and imprisonment triggered a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Ankara before his release and return to Germany.
His arrest took place as part of a massive crackdown on suspected dissidents in the wake of a failed coup on July 16, 2016. Critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have said the president has used the coup attempt as a pretext for getting rid of unwanted opponents, including many journalists, human rights activists and lawyers.
The Turkish government has also accused Yücel of having contact with Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of being behind the coup attempt.
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