Turkey lifts travel ban on German journalist awaiting trial

Turkey lifts travel ban on German journalist awaiting trial
Journalist Mesale Tolu is facing charges of belonging to the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Community Party.
2 min read
20 August, 2018
German-Turkish journalist Mesale Tolu after being released from custody in December [Getty]
Turkey has lifted a travel ban on a German journalist awaiting trial on terror-related charges, the reporter said on Monday. 

Mesale Tolu tweeted confirming German media reports that Ankara lifted its travel ban, which it enacted in December after the journalist of Turkish descent was released from prison after eight months on charges of membership to the banned Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). 

"As a result of my lawyer's application, my ban on travelling abroad has been lifted," Tolu wrote in Turkish. "My prosecution will continue on Oct. 16".

Germany had demanded the release of Tolu, along with several other citizens of Turkish background, to improve ties.

Relations between Berlin and Ankara deteriorated after it condemned Turkey's crackdown on dissent following a 2016 failed coup attempt. Ankara has arrested some 50,000 people and suspended or sacked 150,000 others. 

In February, Ankara released another German journalist of Turkish origin, Deniz Yucel, a move that brought improved relations. 

Eight German citizens are currently held in Turkey, along with several US citizens including American pastor Andrew Brunson. His continued detention has led to the US imposing sanctions on Ankara. 

Ankara is currently grappling with an economic and currency crisis, with the lira's value plummeting this year. 

Germany has urged Turkey to improve ties with both the US and Germany, which would ease an economic crisis sparked by a sharp fall in the lira. The Turkish currency has lost some 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

Turkey has in recent days turned to Europe against a backdrop of escalating tensions with Washington over the case of the jailed American pastor. 

An Istanbul court last Wednesday allowed the release of Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kilic, who spent more than a year in jail over alleged links to the 2016 coup attempt.

Also, two Greek soldiers held by Turkey since March for illegally crossing the border were also freed in a move warmly welcomed by Athens.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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