Erdogan Critic Arrested in Spain Granted ‘Conditional’ Release

Published August 20th, 2017 - 11:59 GMT
Dogan Akhanli had been arrested on Ankara's request. (AFP/File)
Dogan Akhanli had been arrested on Ankara's request. (AFP/File)
A Spanish court granted the conditional release from custody to German-Turkish writer Dogan Akhanli a day after police arrested him at Ankara's request, his lawyer Ilias Uyar wrote on Facebook.

The critic of the Turkish government was released followed calls from Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel for Spain not to extradite Akhanli.

"The battle was worth it," wrote Uyar, adding that Akhanli "is being released from detention on condition he stays in Madrid".

Born in Turkey, Akhanli emigrated to Germany in 1991 following a stretch in prison after Turkey's 1984 military coup.

Akhanli is a prominent critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his lawyer has described his arrest as part of a "targeted hunt against critics of the Turkish government living abroad in Europe".

The writer's arrest under an Interpol 'red notice' added further strain to ties between Ankara and Berlin, which have been tested since Turkey began its crackdown following July 2016's failed coup.

 


As part of efforts to root out possible coup sympathisers, Turkish authorities sacked or suspended close to 150,000 people.

German citizens have also been among those arrested and targeted as part of Erdogan's purge.

"This is a development of dramatic significance," said Martin Schulz, leader of Germany's Social Democrat Party. "As part of his (Erdogan's) paranoid counter-putsch, he is reaching out for our citizens on the territory of European Union states."

Schulz has also called for the suspension of talks regarding Turkish membership of the EU customs union over Erdogan's "testing the limits of how far he can go".

Following Akhanli's arrest, Germany's journalists' union warned writers who are critical of Erdogan's government to check their Interpol records before travelling.

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