German minister to discuss arrested lawyer with Turkish counterpart

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday that he plans to discuss the September arrest of a lawyer working with the German embassy in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart during a G20 meeting in Japan.

Maas and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu are attending the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Nagoya on Friday and Saturday.

“We are of the opinion that there must also be a quick solution to this, and I will of course tell my colleague here as well,” Maas said in Hiroshima. He added the arrest of the lawyer was “in no way comprehensible.”

In mid-September, the Turkish police arrested a lawyer who worked for the German embassy in Ankara. It is suspected that the lawyer was carrying sensitive data on Turkish people who had applied for asylum in Germany, and that the information was now in the hands of the Turkish authorities.

The head of the migration ministry in Germany, Hans-Eckhard Sommer, on Thursday described the arrest as “a foreign policy scandal.”

The Nuremberg-based office and Foreign Ministry in Berlin uses the help of such lawyers to obtain information on migrants’ reasons for fleeing their country of origin and any possible dangers asylum seekers could face if they returned.

Maas also wants to use the lawyer’s case to stand up for other German citizens who are imprisoned in Turkey on, for example, charges of terrorism.

“We want all these cases to be resolved. And as long as this is not the case, it will always be something that will stand in the way of the normalization of the relationship,” he said.

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