Germany protests arrest of lawyer in Turkey

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas raised his concerns on Saturday over Turkey’s arrest of a lawyer working with the German embassy in Ankara.

Maas said he told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that Germany had “simply no comprehension of this,” on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Nagoya, Japan.

He drew a comparison with other arrests in Turkey which were regarded critically by Berlin. Cavusoglu had said that judicial authorities were looking into the matter, and the dialogue between Berlin and Ankara would continue, Maas said.

Turkish police arrested the lawyer, Yilmaz Sunar, in mid-September. It is suspected that he 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.

Sunar is accused of espionage, his lawyer told dpa, adding that his client worked on “solid legal ground.”

“As a lawyer, our colleague just did his job,” the lawyer said, asking not to be named. “The German embassy wanted legal advice. He provided legal advice for a fee and did not obtain any documents.”

Sunar is currently being held in solitary confinement in Ankara’s Sincan prison and an indictment against him expected next week, the lawyer said on Friday.

A second lawyer, Baki Demirhan, was briefly detained in Turkey on similar charges, the pro-government Sabah newspaper reported.

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