BERLIN — A German journalist who is on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges returned to Germany on Sunday after a Turkish court ruled that she could leave the country.

Mesale Tolu flew to Stuttgart days after the court decision became public, a ruling that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called "a step toward improving our relations with Turkey."

Tolu has been charged with engaging in terrorist propaganda and being a member of a banned left-wing group, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. She rejects the accusations.

She was released from prison in December while the trial continued, but a court only lifted an exit ban a few weeks ago. There has been no verdict yet in the trial.

Her case was one of several that soured German-Turkish relations in the last two years. At least seven other German citizens are still detained in Turkey for what Berlin considers political reasons.

An exit ban that prevents Tolu's husband, Suat Corlu, from leaving Turkey wasn't lifted. He faces similar charges in the same proceedings.

Tolu told reporters at Stuttgart airport that she plans to continue supporting people in Turkey whose detentions were politically motivated, German news agency dpa reported.

"It's not the case that I am really happy about my departure, because I know that nothing has changed in the country where I was locked up," she said.