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Austrian chancellor calls for immediate release of journalist Zirngast from Turkish jail

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called the detention of Austrian journalist Max Zirngast on terrorism charges in Turkey “unacceptable” and demanded his immediate release from prison, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.

A court in the Turkish capital of Ankara ruled on Sept.21 to arrest Zirngast, who was detained by police on Sept. 11, for alleged membership in the leftist TKP/Kıvılcım terrorist organization.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna, Kurz said he expects a fair trial for Zirngast and that, according to him, means his immediate release.

The Austrian chancellor also said Turkey’s actions in other cases are also unacceptable, adding that there are “too many people” in the country who are wrongfully detained.

Following Zirngast’s arrest, Kurz asked Ankara to reveal the reasons that led to the journalist’s arrest and present concrete evidence against him requiring his imprisonment.

In an op-ed article he wrote for The Washington Post last month, Zirngast said he was interrogated by Turkish prosecutors due to the books found in his house and an article he wrote for the US magazine Jacobin. He said he is being accused of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in that article.

The journalist recently completed his studies in the areas of political science and philosophy at Ankara’s Middle Eastern Technical University (METU). His articles were being published in the left-leaning German magazine re:volt before his detention.

According to re:volt, Zirngast has lived in Turkey for several years, where he works and pursues his studies.

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