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Germany rejects calls from Turkey for extradition of journalist Dündar

Fahrettin Altun

The German Foreign Ministry has rejected calls from Turkey for the extradition of Turkish journalist Can Dündar, who was given a lengthy jail sentence by a Turkish court on Wednesday, saying the German government does not extradite people convicted of political crimes, Deutsche Welle reported.

An aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday asked for the extradition of Dündar from Germany after a Turkish court handed down a prison sentence of 27 years, three months in a controversial ruling.

The ministry’s statement on Thursday further said the German government promotes efforts for the maintenance of independent media and journalism around the world, adding that a commitment to international standards concerning issues such as democracy, human rights and a state of law would be good for Turkey’s relations with Germany and the European Union.

Dündar was given the jail sentence by an İstanbul court in a trial concerning a news report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting arms to rebels in Syria. He was given 18 years, nine months for obtaining state secrets for the purpose of political or military espionage and an additional eight years, nine months for supporting an armed terrorist organization without holding membership in it.

Following the court’s ruling, Fahrettin Altun, Erdoğan’s communications director, tweeted in German as well as Turkish that interpreting the court’s ruling on Dündar as a violation of freedom of the press would be an insult to journalists.

“We ask our partners to accept the ruling of the independent Turkish judiciary and extradite Can Dündar to Turkey,” tweeted Altun.

Dündar, who fled Turkey in 2016 to avoid a government crackdown on critical journalists, was retried by the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court after the country’s top appeals court overturned a previous sentence of five years, 10 months given to the journalist.

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