Berlin’s ambassador visits German detainees in Turkish prison

German Ambassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann has visited his fellow countrymen Deniz Yuecel and Peter Steudtner in a Turkish prison on Wednesday.

Journalist Yuecel and human rights activist Steudtner were doing well considering their circumstances, a statement by the German Foreign Office read. Both individuals held intensive talks with Erdmann which lasted over an hour.

The two German citizens are currently detained by Turkish authorities near Istanbul after being accused of supporting terrorist organizations.

In Steudtner’s case, the meeting on Wednesday marked the first time that members of Germany’s diplomatic corps were able to speak to the 46-year-old from Berlin since his arrest in June.

Steudtner was the tenth German citizen to be arrested in Turkey since the country’s failed military coup last year. Yuecel has dual Turkish and German nationality and has already been in custody since February.

Traditionally close relations between Ankara and Berlin have come under severe strain in the wake of a failed military attempt to unseat Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.

Amongst others, Erdogan’s government has since criticized German politicians for allegedly granting asylum to Turkish revolutionaries.

Just as Germany expected to get is citizens “back from us,” Turkey also wanted Berlin to hand over terrorists, Erdogan was quoted saying.

Official figures released on Wednesday showed that the number of Turkish asylum seekers in Germany has grown again in July. 620 asylum seekers from the country were registered by the German Interior Ministry last month, compared to 433 in June and 498 in May.

The number of Turkish asylum seekers in Germany has risen continuously since July 2016. 5,752 individuals from Turkey filed applications in 2016, compared to 1,767 in 2015. Prior to the failed military coup, the number had remained relatively stable for ten years.