German authorities have said they will not deport a Turkish journalist who protested President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month, contrary to what was previously reported, according to Deutsche Welle.
Yiğit said on Sunday that the immigration office in the northern city of Hamburg had told him he would be deported if he did not leave Germany by January.
Yiğit, who said he faces persecution in Turkey, claimed the deportation order was linked to his protest at the press conference. The 60-year-old told DW that Germany “probably wanted to serve” him to Erdoğan amid a backlash by Turkish media following the press conference.
But a spokesperson for the Hamburg immigration office in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD denied any intention of deporting Yiğit. “There are no plans to deport him,” Florian Käckenmester said.
Käckenmester told the epd news agency that Yiğit had been informed that his temporary residence permit would not be renewed because he no longer fulfilled the requirements. But Yiğit was also told that officials would suspend an automatic deportation linked to the decision and offer him a new residence permit based on humanitarian grounds.
The journalist denied he had received information about a new residence permit. Speaking to the DPA news agency, he said the move was a “trap” because the new residence permit entailed fewer rights for the holder. “They want to get rid of me,” he added.
Yiğit, who writes for the German TAZ newspaper and runs the Turkish website Avrupa Postası, is a vocal critic of Erdoğan.
During a press conference with Erdoğan and Merkel in Berlin last month, he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Freedom for journalists in Turkey” before he was taken out of the room by security.
Erdoğan laughed as he was escorted out.