BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday in Berlin amid cautious hopes on both sides that the two countries will restore friendlier relations after more than a year of tension.
Expectations are high in Germany that Yildirim's visit will bring some movement in the high-profile case of a prominent German-Turkish journalist, Deniz Yucel, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for a year on terror-related charges.
Relations between the two countries have rapidly deteriorated since a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.
The German government claims that six German citizens are held in Turkey for what it considers political reasons. Turkey accuses Germany of harboring some of the ringleaders of the failed coup.
Yucel, a 44-year-old correspondent for the daily Die Welt newspaper with dual German-Turkish citizenship, is the most prominent case. He was arrested in Istanbul exactly a year ago on Wednesday and still has not been formally charged.
Referring to Yucel's case earlier on Thursday, Yildirim told Turkish journalists aboard his plane to Berlin: "I think there will be a development soon," the German news agency dpa reported. "And then this topic will no longer be an issue that blocks the relations between Turkey and Germany."
He added that Yucel's case is up to the Turkish courts, not the government.
Several groups, including Kurdish opposition parties, protested in front of the Chancellery as Merkel welcomed Yidirim amid high security precautions on Thursday afternoon. They held banners with the slogan "Turkey get out of Kurdistan" and waved Kurdish flags.