The German translator and journalist Mesale Tolu, who was arrested for terrorist attacks in Turkey, landed in Stuttgart. In the morning, she had even tweeted from a Turkish airport: “After 17 months, it’s back home.” A photo showed her with her three-year-old son and a small suitcase on the way through a terminal:
At a press conference after her arrival in Stuttgart, Tolu said she could only partially enjoy the return home. Although she is back in Germany, hundreds of journalists, opposition figures, lawyers and students are still not free. “It’s not that I’m really happy about leaving because I know that nothing has changed in the country where I was locked up.” Tolu announced that she wanted to continue working for the people who were detained in Turkey for political reasons.
The Turkish government accuses Tolu of being a member of a terrorist organization – meaning the MLCP, a left-wing extremist group banned in Turkey. Tolu, who denies the allegations, sat in prison for more than seven months in 2017. The case of Tolu – as well as the imprisonment of “World” correspondent Deniz Yücel and human rights activist Peter Steudtner – had severely strained relations between Turkey and Germany.
Tolu was released in December, but the exit ban was abruptly lifted only a few days ago. The trial against her will continue in the absence. The next hearing is scheduled for mid-October.Tolu’s husband, Suat Corlu, is being charged in the same trial. His exit ban, however, still exists. According to her family, Tolu and her son are to live with their father in Neu-Ulm after their arrival.
The repeal of Tolus exit barrier is an example of a series of advances of Turkey to Europe and especially Germany. The government has fallen out with the USA over US pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held in Turkey . US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions and punitive tariffs on Turkey to free Brunson, and Ankara has returned the sanctions. This is fueling a currency crisis that is putting President Erdogan under pressure.