German FM appeals for release of boy held in Turkish jail

A German teenager, held in a Turkish jail since April accused of having sex with an underage British girl while on vacation, has found a powerful supporter in German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who appealed to Turkish authorities Tuesday to ensure the return of the boy.

Steinmeier said he raised the issue with Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul over the phone late Monday and with Turkey's Economy Minister Ali Babacan at European Union-Turkey talks here.

Germany is seeking the release of the 17-year-old high school student identified as Marco W. who is being held on accusations of sexually abusing the 13-year-old British girl.

"He is meant to be at school instead of being in detention," Steinmeier told reporters.

"We fully respect the autonomy of the Turkish judicial system," he said. "The point of our discussions is that all Turkish authorities have to be aware of this case and to try to find a solution so that this young man can return to his parents and to Germany as quickly as possible."

The boy was arrested April 11 after the mother of the girl reported that the two had become sexually involved while vacationing on the Turkish Riviera.

In an interview from jail with Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper published Tuesday Marco W. reportedly says he met the girl, who he named as Charlotte, at a disco. According to the paper, he said they later had sexual relations "without intercourse."

Marco W. appealed for her to "tell the truth" and withdraw her complaint. He said she'd told him she was 15.

"I was shocked when police told me she was 13," he was reported saying. "If I had known that she was 13, we would not have come to this point."