A Turkish court sentenced German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel in absentia on July 16 to jail for 2 years and 9 months for terrorism propaganda, his lawyer said, in a case that has strained ties between Ankara and Berlin.
Yücel, who denied the charges against him, returned to Berlin in February 2018 when he was released after being kept in jail for a year without indictment.
The court convicted Yücel on July 14 for spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), lawyer Veysel Ok said.
The court ruled that he was not guilty of sedition or of spreading propaganda for the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The court also filed additional criminal complaints against him for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and for insulting the Turkish Republic and its agencies, Ok said.
Yücel's arrest led to a protracted dispute between Turkey and Germany, two NATO allies. Shortly after his arrest, Berlin banned Turkish ministers from speaking to rallies of expatriate Turks, while Erdoğan called Yücel a terrorist agent and Ankara accused Germany of supporting Gülen's network.Journalist Pehlivan thanks friends for 'most precious gift' after they mark his birthday at 'Freedom Park'
Erdoğan's international critics have questioned the independence of Turkey's judiciary, especially since a crackdown after the attempted coup in 2016.
They say the government used the coup as a pretext to quash dissent, with Turkey one of the biggest jailers of journalists globally. Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) say the measures are necessary given the security risks Turkey faces, and courts make independent decisions.
Ok said Turkey's highest court had already ruled that articles written by Yücel on which the charges were based were within the remit of his freedom of speech, and the lower court had violated the law by not abiding by that ruling.
"[Judges] convict anyone who writes news on topics the ruling party does not want - on Kurds, on Armenians. This is confirmation that there is no press freedom in Turkey," he said.Istanbul court releases three journalists, keeps three others behind bars for officer's funeral report