German journalist Mesale Tolu Corlu faces hearing in Turkey as relations worsen

German journalist Mesale Tolu Corlu faces hearing in Turkey as relations worsen

Mesale Tolu Corlu was set to have her review hearing today, ahead of an October criminal trial on terror-related charges. The hearing has been postponed as she faces up to 15 years in prison. Ms Corlu’s trial marks only one issue dividing Turkey and Germany. Ahead of April’s constitutional referendum, Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out

Turkey’s President Erdogan holds a press conference with his German counteraprt

Photo: AFP/John Macdougall

Mesale Tolu Corlu was set to have her review hearing today, ahead of an October criminal trial on terror-related charges. The hearing has been postponed as she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Ms Corlu’s trial marks only one issue dividing Turkey and Germany. Ahead of April’s constitutional referendum, Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Berlin for blocking Turkish officials from campaigning among Turkish nationals in Germany. At a campaign stop ahead of a September general election, Angela Merkel condemned Turkey’s arrest of a German writer in Spain.

In payback over the referendum slight, Erdogan has declared that ethnically Turkish Germans, about 1 million of whom can vote, should not support Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the centre-left Social Democrats or the environmentalist Greens. He called those parties “enemies of Turkey” and labelled Turkish-descended Green co-leader Cem Ozdemir a “so-called Turk”.

Though cooperation on issues like migrants will continue, expect bad blood between officials to grow. While Erdogan’s electoral appeal could see some ethnic Turks go against mainstream parties, it will do little to harm Merkel’s chances of victory. The leaders’ relationship, however, will be far from unscathed.