Convicted Turkish journalist calls on Germany to defend press freedom

Turkish journalist Erdem Gul, who has been sentenced to five years in prison for revealing state secrets, called on the German government to do more for press freedom in his country in an interview with daily Die Welt published on Saturday.

"We currently see a large-scale destruction of European rights," he told the paper. "However, the German government's reaction is much more restrained than that of the US government, for instance," said Gul, who is the Ankara bureau chief of left-wing newspaper Cumhuriyet.

"On the one hand, the German government works closely with Turkey, in particular on the refugee issue. On the other hand, it barely raises its voice when European values such as freedom of opinion and press freedom are at stake," he said.

On his trial alongside his editor-in-chief Can Dundar, Gul said: "We have been convicted for journalism."

Gul and Dundar were both found guilty of revealing state secrets after publishing a report last year about alleged arms shipments from Turkey to Syria. Dundar was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.

Whether or not the two will have to go to prison will be decided after the appeal.

Gul was not intending to escape abroad although a travel ban on him and Dundar was lifted with the sentence on Friday.

"I did not think of that for one second. We carry responsibilityy for the future of freedom and democracy in this country," he told the paper.

Last update: Sat, 07/05/2016 - 20:56

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