Germany rejects Turkish charges, hits out over press freedom

Earlier, comments in Berlin by Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag, who had been scheduled to address a meeting in the southwestern town of Gaggenau until it was cancelled on Thursday, reflected a broader souring of relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

And ties have worsened after the formal arrest of Turkish-German Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel on Monday who is accused of "terrorist propaganda".

When asked about Rutte's comments, Bozdag said politicians in Europe were being anti-Turkey in their quest for votes ahead of elections - the Dutch vote on March 15 - which he said was a "big mistake".

He said German ambassador Martin Erdmann underscored that message during a "serious but friendly" discussion with Turkish authorities after being summoned to discuss the incident late on Thursday.

"When we told them to hand him over to be tried, they refused".

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The German foreign ministry urged Ankara to refrain from "pouring oil on the fire". About 1.4 million Turks living in Germany are eligible to vote in the April referendum, in which President Erdogan aims to win backing for sweeping new powers.

Police are searching the city hall. The leader noted that "while preventing Turkish leaders from addressing their communities", Germany has allowed "members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leaders to hold rallies".

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addressed Turkish voters at a campaign rally in the Rhineland town of Oberhausen last week. They reportedly received a telephone call from an unknown person who said there was a bomb in the town hall.

Cavusoglu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, speaking by phone, agreed to meet next Wednesday, a senior Turkish official said.

"It is our duty to go to battle; victory belongs to Allah", the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Zeybekci as saying.

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"I also think that it was right of us to criticise any restrictions on press freedom".

Relations between Berlin and Ankara have been fraught in recent years, in part due to Germany's criticism of Turkey's mass arrest of suspected critics.

Earlier in the day, Yıldırım said that the decision of German authorities is "very unfortunate".

The detention of private reporters is increasingly common in Turkey under Erdogan, which has led to the nationalization of Turkish media outlets seen as insufficiently pro-government, pretty much always on claims of terrorism.

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