German-Turkish writer held in Spain on Turkey’s order

Agence France Presse
 Saturday 8:26 PM GMT


German-Turkish writer held in Spain on Turkey's order

 Berlin, Aug 19 2017

Dogan Akhanli, a German intellectual of Turkish origin who writes on
Turkey's record on human rights, was arrested in Spain on Saturday at
Ankara's request, the foreign ministry said in Berlin, adding that it
opposed any extradition of the writer.

The arrest was initially announced by German Green MP Volker Beck, who
described it as a politically-motivated move by Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A foreign ministry official later confirmed the arrest. The ministry
has asked Madrid not to extradite Akhanli to Turkey, and that its
embassy be allowed to provide consular assistance "as quickly as
possible," the official said.

The Spanish interior ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Akhanli's local newspaper, the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger in western
Germany, said the Turkish-born writer was arrested in the southern
Spanish town of Grenada on Saturday morning. The accusations against
him were unknown.

Spanish police had a so-called red notice -- an alert circulated by
Interpol that is roughly equivalent to an international arrest
warrant.

Akhanli's website says he was born in northeastern Turkey in 1957,
moved to Istanbul at the age of 12 and was held as a political
prisoner from 1985 to 1987, when he was tortured.

He moved to Cologne in the 1990s, was stripped of his Turkish
citizenship and became a German citizen in 2001, it says.

The arrest shows that Erdogan is seeking to "extend his power beyond
his country's borders, to intimidate critics and to pursue them around
the world," Beck charged.

Akhanli has written about the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist
Hrant Dink, who was murdered in 2007, and about the killing of
Armenians under the Ottoman Turkish empire.

Between half a million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed between
1915 and 1917 -- a bloodletting that Armenia and Western historians
describe as genocide.

Turkey vehemently objects to the term. It argues that 300,000 to
500,000 Armenians and as many Turks died in civil strife when
Armenians rose up and sided with invading Russian troops.

Akhanli was arrested in 2010 on his arrival in Istanbul airport for
alleged implication in an armed robbery in 1989. He was released four
months later and then declared innocent, before a court of appeal
ordered new proceedings against him.

German Green MPs took up his cause, saying he had been a victim of
political persecution.

Relations between Germany and Turkey have been at a nadir since a
failed putsch against Erdogan in July 2016.

Turkish accusations include the charge that Germany has given refuge
to wanted Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants and suspected coup
plotters.

Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel, the Istanbul correspondent of
newspaper Die Welt, has been held in jail in Turkey since February
ahead of trial on terror charges.

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