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German police arrest two senior journalists on Turkish newspaper

German police arrested two veteran Turkish journalists in early morning raids on the Sabah newspaper
German police van (File Photo/Social Media)

German police arrested the European editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Sabah and another senior staff journalist in an early morning raid on Wednesday, a source at the newspaper told Middle East Eye. 

According to the Sabah employee, journalists Ismail Erel and Cemil Albay were arrested in Frankfurt and sent to a police detention centre, and their houses were raided by police.

“Ismail Erel and Cemil Albay’s houses were also raided today at 6am by German police,” said the employee. 

Erel is the German representative of Sabah newspaper and Albay, the editor-in-chief of Sabah in Europe.

“Ismail is an experienced journalist working for more than 30 years as a journalist in Germany, he’s well known amongst other journalists,” said the employee.  

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According to the Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency (AA), the Turkish foreign ministry contacted German authorities and demanded the immediate release of the detained journalists.  

Speaking to AA, a diplomatic source said raiding newspaper offices and arresting journalists is an unacceptable act. 

The Turkish government's communications chief Fahrettin Altun condemned the move in a tweet saying that the arrests were based on a legal complaint made by a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric and Erdogan ally-turned-opponent blamed by Ankara for a 2016 coup attempt.

'We find this move by Germany to silence journalists unacceptable'

- Fahrettin Altun, Turkish presidency

"The early morning raids on the homes and offices of Turkish journalists, as well as their detention and the confiscation of their equipment due to their reporting against the terrorist organisation Feto in Germany, are a clear violation of freedom of the press," Altun said in a Tweet.

"We find this move by Germany to silence journalists unacceptable, and we are concerned about the pressure on the freedom of the press in the country," he added.

"We call on German authorities, who protect Feto members and excuse the activities of this bloody terrorist organisation, to turn back from this faulty attitude," Altun said.

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