Erdoğan: Yücel extradition denied indefinitely, while referendum for more power passes

by Ana Ribeiro

The ECPMF demands the immediate release of Deniz Yücel, held in a Turkish jail since last February, and condemns President Erdoğan’s affirmation that the Die Welt correspondent will not be returned to Germany for as long as he is in power. Considering the impending change to the Turkish Constitution, that could be a long time.

"This is absolutely disgusting," said ECPMF board chair Henrik Kaufholz. "The statement of President Erdoğan shows that the Turkisk justice system has to follow instructions from politics."

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly appeared on a TV programme on 15 April and stated, referring to requests to extradite Yücel back home: "It will never take place. It will never happen as long as I occupy this post [as president]." Erdoğan added that this is due to a lack of a reciprocal extradition agreement with Germany, and has accused Yücel of being a "terrorist agent" with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself is said to have requested the extradition of Yücel, who was born in Germany and has dual Turkish and German citizenship. Yücel had first been detained in connection with his reporting on a leftist group that hacked the e-mails of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan's son-in-law and ally.

turkey_germany_900 Turkish-German relations have been increasingly uneasy as Erdogan has been oppressing German citizens. (Photo: Pixabay)

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Germany have taken a hit since the implementation of the “state of emergency” and related civil society crackdown following the attempted coup in July 2016 - including more than once on German citizens. Yücel's supporters in Germany have been actively protesting against his arrest, and Merkel has publicly criticised Yücel’s detention.

Consolidating power

Meanwhile, a reported 63.07 percent of Turkish citizens casting their ballots from Germany have voted in favor of expanding Erdoğan’s powers. The referendum narrowly passed in Turkey on 17 April – 51.41 percent “yes” – and the opposition has cried foul.

ECPMF's Kaufholz states:

"The ECPMF can only recommend President Erdoğan to take a look at 'his' new constitution, according to which the courts are independent of the government and the parliament.

Regime critics fear that the referendum, if honoured, would consolidate a dictatorship, as it would change Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system (meaning no more prime minister). The reform to Turkey's constitution would require that the Constitutional Court review presidential decrees, but the court may not be impartial as Erdoğan would be responsible for most of its appointments.

Another change would be that for a presidential veto to be overriden, the Parliament would need to produce an absolute rather than a simple majority. Meanwhile, the Parliament would be unable to impeach the president - but Erdoğan would be able to dissolve it at will.

Creative Commons LicenseThis article is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –