Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said there are 6,063 Turkish citizens who have been detained in foreign countries as the detentions of Turkish citizens abroad have come to the forefront over the last few months Tosday`s Zaman reported.
Responding to a formal question from Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Davutoglu said there are 3,602 imprisoned or detained Turkish citizens in Germany, 214 in Austria, 307 in France, 195 in Belgium, 253 in the Netherlands, 188 in Greece, 151 in Switzerland, 141 in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and 110 in the United Kingdom. There are 902 Turks in jail in other countries. Among the detainees, there are also four Turks who have been sentenced to death in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Davutoglu said efforts are being made to convert the death penalties to life imprisonment and underlined that he is in contact with his counterparts elsewhere to mitigate the punishments of Turkish citizens abroad. He also said that President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are following this issue closely.
The foreign minister said there are legal advisers in the Foreign Ministry's 38 missions abroad and that detained or imprisoned Turkish citizens can seek help from them.
The issue of detained Turkish citizens came to the fore in the Turkish public when Turkish reporter Metin Turan was detained in Cairo on Aug. 17. Turan was arrested in Cairo's al-Fateh Mosque while covering the military crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Rasit Oguz, who was working as a textile worker, was also detained in the city of Ismailia, northeast of Cairo, on Aug. 28 while taking photographs of military facilities, according to a report from the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).
The case of Gizem Akhan has also been a prominent one. Akhan was one of 30 Greenpeace activists who were on the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise and who were detained by Russian border guards in September during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic. Her release was approved by a Russian court last week.