Turkey slams Germany for urging EU to rethink its warrants

AP News
Posted: Aug 22, 2017 2:48 PM
Turkey slams Germany for urging EU to rethink its warrants

BERLIN (AP) — Turkey's interior minister condemned Germany's call 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 Turkey of abusing the international system used to hunt down fugitives.

In a statement published by Turkey's official Anadolu news agency, the country's interior ministry shot back late Tuesday, stating the German leader's allegation was "unacceptable."

Akhanli is accused of involvement in a 1884 armed robbery in with alleged links to an outlawed leftist group. The robbery left one person dead. Turkey revoked his citizenship in 1998 and issued an international request for his arrest in 2013. Akhanli considers the accusations politically motivated.

Turkey's interior ministry said the warrant was in line with Interpol regulations. The ministry accused Germany of violating international agreements by protecting "a criminal."

Earlier Tuesday, German Justice Minister Heika Mass amplified on Merkel's suggestion in remarks published by Funke newspaper group.

"We should at least embark on a more intense dialogue inside the EU on how we deal with search requests from Turkey," Maas said, adding that Europe "cannot allow every critic of the Turkish regime to be exposed to arbitrary persecution."

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 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 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.