Berlin (CNN)A man calling for freedom of the press and the release of journalists held in Turkey was removed by security from a news conference between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday.
Journalist calling for press freedom ejected from Berlin news conference
He was later identified as Turkish journalist and general secretary of the European Turkish Journalists' Association Adil Yigit, who lives in Germany and is a staunch critic of Erdogan.
The news conference, held on the second day of a controversial state visit by the Turkish leader, was well underway when Yigit, sitting on one of the front rows with a camera, was marched out of the room by two men, revealing a T-shirt reading "freedom for journalists" and "freedom of the press for journalists in Turkey."
Dozens of journalists, including foreign reporters, have been imprisoned without trial in Turkey on terror charges since a failed coup attempt in 2016, according to reports. Turkey is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
In footage of Friday's incident posted by Juergen Kloeckner, parliamentary correspondent for the Huffington Post in Germany, Yigit can be heard saying in German, "I haven't done anything. What's wrong?"
Shortly afterward, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert defended the decision to remove Yigit.
Regardless of "whether it is a legitimate concern or not," the government does not tolerate any demonstrations of a political nature at press conferences held in the Chancellery or the German parliament, he said on Twitter.