Terzioglu Awarded for Release of Journalists in Iran

Image Uğur Terzioğlu, chairman of the Turkish-American Business Association (TABA/AmCham), was officially recognized Saturday with the title of honorary member of the Diplomaten International (DMW e.V.) for his role in facilitating the release of two German journalists who had been detained in Iran for over four months.

The two journalists, Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch were detained by the Iranian government on a slew of serious charges including espionage and attempting to undermine Iranian national security. “I was contacted by DMW managers who were given my name by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany,” said Terzioğlu at an organization in İstanbul Saturday arranged by the Aspen Institute Italia. “They were told that I was someone who might be able to assist in negotiating the release of the journalists.” “The two journalists did nothing wrong,” said Mr. Terzioğlu, who was able to learn through connections that the journalists had been charged with entering the country with tourist visas and not journalistic visas. “They probably would have spent nine months or more in prison pending trial had their release not been negotiated.”

Although Terzioğlu did not negotiate the release of the hostages himself, his network was able to ensure that the issue landed on the agenda of Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül during his recent visit to Iran. Gül’s request to Iranian authorities resulted in the imprisoned journalists’ sentence being commuted to a $50,000 fine for each. German Foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, subsequently flew to Iran and returned the hostages on Feb. 19.

The press conference on Saturday was held in the aftermath of an official trip by DMW president Gunther Meinel to Turkey earlier last week to present the unprecedented award of honorary member of the DMW to a non-diplomat. In an official letter Meinel, recognized Terzioğlu as a “personality who is committed to the further promotion of human rights and is as well willing to render assistance on an international level.” In Saturday’s press conference, the organization reiterated a previous message passed by the organization to Gül stating that Terzioğlu was a key player in helping to grow and improve relations with Germany. It was also announced during this press conference that DMW will soon open an office in Istanbul to be represented by Ferhat Bozçelik. Source: Today's Zaman
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07