Turkey Court Orders Release Of Austrian Student

A Turkish court ordered the release from jail of an Austrian student and journalist charged with being a member of a terror group, his lawyer said on Monday.

Max Zirngast, who writes for the far-left German-language magazine Revolt, had been formally arrested by an Ankara court in September.

He is accused of having links to the extreme leftist Turkish Communist Party (TKP)/Kivilcim group, which is banned by Turkey as a terror organisation.

His lawyer Tamer Dogan told AFP that Zirngast, 29, was due to be released in the next few hours but did not give further details.

Zirngast was charged with being “a member of an armed terrorist organisation”, Hurriyet daily said, after an Ankara court accepted an indictment and ordered his release.

Zirngast is due to go on trial but the newspaper did not give a date.

Dogan and Zirngast previously denied such an organisation existed.

The student had also published articles on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

The PKK is prescribed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies.

Zirngast has been in Turkey for three years and was a masters student at Middle East Technical University (ODTU) in the political sciences department.

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post in November, Zirngast wrote that his arrest was “a perverse confirmation of the authoritarianism I’ve spent the past several years chronicling and opposing”.

He also criticised the attempt to “silence the entire democratic opposition in Ankara”.



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