Turkey detains German national over Facebook posts

Turkish authorities detained a German national of Turkish origin at an airport in southern Turkey, accusing him of spreading terrorist propaganda on posts on Facebook, Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday citing several German outlets.

It said Osman B. was detained on July 28 in southern province of Antalya where he had flown for a holiday, according to reports from German public broadcasters NDR, WDR and newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. 

The German Federal Foreign Office confirmed the arrest and said the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Antalya were involved, DW said. 

The 36-year-old man could face several years in prison on terrorism propaganda charges, DW said. German media said Osman B. had admitted sharing posts on Facebook several years ago, but said he now regretted them. He also denied having a second Facebook profile, on which had shared pictures of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Osman B. was born in Turkey in 1983 and has been a German citizen since 2011. The man, who dropped Turkish citizenship in 2012, is being held as a flight risk, DW said.

The man’s lawyer told the arrest should be viewed in relation to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s statement in March in which he said foreign tourists suspected of opposing the Turkish government could be arrested upon arrival in Turkey.

“In Germany, in Europe, there are those who attend terrorist organisation events, then go on vacation in Antalya, Bodrum and Muğla," Soylu said during an election rally, referring to popular tourist resorts in Turkey. "Let them come and go to prison directly from the airport.”

Germany's Foreign Ministry in March warned German nationals planning to travel to Turkey that expressing opinions that would be tolerated at home might not be by the Turkish authorities. 

Relations between Germany and Turkey soured in 2017 after Turkey arrested several German citizens over similar terror-related charges. According to NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung, seven German citizens are currently in prison in Turkey for political reasons, DW said.