Pro-government newspaper accuses Die Welt journo of being ‘PKK hitman’

German daily Die Welt’s Turkey correspondent Deniz Yucel has been under arrest since 27 February.

Thursday’s cover of Turkey’s pro-government daily Star featured Die Welt reporter Deniz Yucel described as a “PKK hitman” in the headline.

The newspaper claimed that a report on 54 of Yucel’s news pieces by Turkey’s Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI) had deemed his reporting to be “PKK propaganda”.

The newspaper said Yucel’s reporting from Cizre and other cities during operations carried out by Turkish security forces in the country’s southeast last year accused the Turkish state of violating human rights and killing civilians.

Yucel reportedly also said Turkey had “become more bigoted under the current government led by “a despotic, oppressive, misogynist, opposition-suppressing leader” that was “left without any other option than to take on a salient role in the operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.”

The journalist, accused of having created “fake news”, was pictured in Star newspaper while carrying out an interview with co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Cemil Bayik.

German daily Die Welt’s Turkey correspondent Deniz Yucel was officially arrested in Istanbul on 27 February after being detained on 14 February.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called Turkey the “biggest jailer of journalists”. At least 150 journalists are thought to be in prison in the country, many of them from Kurdish publications. Government officials have denied any journalists being behind bars, saying they had been arrested on “terror charges”.