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German minister urges EU rethink on Turkish warrants

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Germany’s justice minister is calling for European Union countries to reconsider how they deal with Turkish warrants following the arrest in Spain of a Turkish-born German writer.

Dogan Akhanli was arrested Saturday in Spain. Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused Turkeyof abusing the international system used to hunt down fugitives.

“We should at least embark on a more intense dialogue inside the EU on how we deal with search requests from Turkey,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas was quoted Tuesday as telling the Funke newspaper group. He added that Europe “cannot allow every critic of the Turkish regime to be exposed to arbitrary persecution.”

Akhanli is accused of involvement in an armed robbery in 1989 with alleged links to an outlawed Kurdish group. Turkey issued an international request for his arrest in 2013. Akhanli considers the accusations politically motivated.

Akhanli has in the past written about the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey in 1915. The killings are a sensitive subject in Turkey, which rejects the widespread view that they constituted genocide.

The Akhanli case is yet another irritant in German-Turkish relations, which have been growing steadily more tense since mid-2016.

Turkish officials haven’t immediately addressed the accusation by Germany that Turkey is abusing the international system to track down fugitives. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogansaid last week to “never vote for parties that are enemies of Turkey” in relation to German mainstream parties, and he urged Turkish-Germans to not vote for them in next month’s election.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, last month toughened Germany’s travel advice for Turkey and raised questions over future German investments there. Gabriel said Monday that his wife has been harassed.

“With the way in which Erdogan is doing this, some people in Germany clearly feel motivated and are trying to hassle and harass my wife,” Gabriel said, without immediately providing further details.



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