Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım expressed hope Wednesday ahead of key talks in Berlin that German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel would soon be freed after spending one year behind bars.
Speaking to German public broadcaster ARD, Yıldırım insisted that Turkish courts are independent but said: "I hope he will soon be set free." According to a transcript of the interview to be aired in the evening, he added: "I believe there will be a development shortly."
Yücel, a 44-year-old correspondent for the daily Die Welt newspaper, still has not been formally charged since his arrest last year in İstanbul on terror allegations and espionage. Yücel, who has both German and Turkish citizenship, is one of six German citizens imprisoned in Turkey.
"At least he will appear before a court and every hearing is a chance to be freed," Yıldırım said, according to extracts of the interview. He is expected to discuss the case with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.
Die Welt reacted to Yıldırım's stated hope that Yücel would soon be released from custody, with a journalist commenting that "here we really have something in common".
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for a fair and speedy trial for the journalist, who marks one year in a Turkish prison on Wednesday. His call comes amid indications by Yıldırım.