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Turkey: German writer Dogan Akhanli is arrested

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 | World News

German writer Dogan Akhanli is in Spanish detention and has to fear extradition to Turkey. The police arrested him at the request of Turkey. The federal government is alerted, the next dispute between Berlin and Ankara is spreading. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) turns himself into the case.

Gabriel wants to prevent the Turkish-born man from being extradited to Turkey. For this he already phoned with his Spanish colleague Alfonso Dastis, as the Foreign Office in Berlin confirmed. He also asked for the consular assistance of the writer as soon as possible. Previously, the German Embassy in Madrid had already turned to the Spanish government with corresponding wishes.

The Turkish-born Cologne writer had been arrested on Saturday on holiday in Spain at the instigation of Turkey. Akhanli has lived in Germany since his escape from Turkey in 1991 and has exclusively German citizenship.

He was accused of being a member of an armed, terrorist organization, claiming he was on a police trip. Officially, this is not confirmed. Akhanli's lawyer, Ilias Uyar, said the arrest had come from Turkey. This was confirmed by the Spanish police. The writer will shortly be handed over to the judicial authorities, a police spokesman said.

The Cologne writer Dogan Akhanli. (Source: Henning Kaiser / Archive / dpa)

 In his works, the writer, born in 1957, is also concerned with the persecution of the Armenians in Turkey, a politically highly controversial topic in which Akhanli's old home regularly raises the emotions. He was arrested after the military coup as a member of the Communist TDKP in 1984. From 1985 to 1987 he was in a military prison in Istanbul.

His lawyer Uyar told the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" that the Spanish police had presented an urgent note from Interpol police officers. Akhanli was therefore arrested on Saturday morning on holiday in Granada. According to the "Spiegel", security circles value the arrest as a new affront to Turkey against the federal government.

Authorities: Erdogan operates "hostage diplomacy"
The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had just recently attacked Germany sharply in a speech. He had given "the lady at the head of Germany" a list of 4500 Turkish terrorists, but this had not been accepted. Merkel, however, had asked him to release Germans imprisoned in Turkey. "I'm sorry if they have a judiciary, so we have one here too," Erdogan said. Several staff from European security agencies described Turkey's "Buzzfeed News" as "hostage diplomacy".

In Germany, the arrest of indignation has come to a head. Politicians demand consequences for the Turkish government. It is a scandal when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, innocent human rights activists and journalists arrested, said SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz. "If he tries to do this outside the territory of Turkey, we must be a European, and we must be resolute and say:" Not so! "

Journalists' Association warns against foreign travel
Green Party chief Cem Özdemir called for a re-evaluation of EU police cooperation with Turkey. "Opponents of the Turkish regime are not allowed to be arrested as criminals in Europe," he told Tagesspiegel. "How far do we want Erdogan to come in Europe?" Asked Katja Kipping.

The PEN authors argued that the trial against Akhanli was "clearly politically motivated". PEN vice-president Sascha Feuchert and many politicians urged the Spanish authorities not to hand over the authors to Turkey and to immediately release them. The German Association of Journalists (DJV) called on German journalists to inform themselves about possible arrest warrants or investigations abroad, before traveling abroad with the Federal Criminal Police Office:

# Erdogan-critical journalists: apply for self-reports at @bka before traveling abroad! Otherwise, imprisonment may threaten: https: //t.co/MvMFZkQlxa- Journalisten-Verband (@DJVde) August 19, 2017
Akhanli had already been arrested at an airport in Istanbul in 2010 when he wanted to enter Turkey to visit his terminally ill father. He was accused of having been involved in a robbery in Istanbul in 1989.

He stayed under investigation until the judge decided on the first day that Akhanli was to leave the prison. A few days later he returned to Germany. In 2011 he was released in the absence of a court in Turkey from the accusation of robbery and manslaughter, but the acquittal was later revoked.

Already in 2010 Dogan Akhanli was arrested in Turkey – when he wanted to visit his terminally ill father. (Source: Riza Aydogmus / Archive / dpa)


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