(AFP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday called Turkey’s latest arrests of opposition newspaper journalists “highly alarming” and said they would impact Ankara’s EU membership negotiations.
“For me and the entire government, it is highly alarming that freedom of the press and speech are being further restricted,” she said after Turkey detained at least a dozen journalists and executives of Cumhuriyet daily.
“And the latest example of this already very sad trend is what happened to the reporters and chief editor of Cumhuriyet,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann.
“We have great doubts that it complied with the rule of law,” she added.
“The journalists can be certain of our solidarity, just like all the others in Turkey who, under difficult conditions, are active for freedom of the press and speech,” Merkel said, adding that the German ambassador had visited the Cumhuriyet newsroom Tuesday.
“The issue will obviously play a central role in membership negotiations with the European Union, so the situation is alarming,” added Merkel.