First Published: 2017-08-20

German-Turkish intellectual held at Ankara’s request
Akhlani, German writer of Turkish origin who often writes about Turkey’s human rights violations, arrested in southern Spain for unknown charges.
Middle East Online

Erdogan is seeking to "extend his power beyond his country's borders"

GRANADA - 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.


UN Security Council lenient to Turkey’s Syria offensive

Washington probes Hezbollah ‘narcoterrorism’

Tillerson to present US strategy on Syria to European, Arab allies

Russia pension funds may invest in Aramco IPO

Iranian woman skydiver looks to break down stereotypes

Qaeda leader calls on Muslims to attack Jews, Americans over Jerusalem

Palestinians in occupied West Bank get 3G

Turkish army clashes with Kurdish militia amid US alarm

Turkey arrests dozens accused of ‘terror propaganda’

Three French female jihadists face possible death penalty in Iraq

Women journalists protest separation during Pence visit to Jerusalem

Egypt military accuses presidential hopeful of committing crimes

Israeli minister calls to ban author praising Palestinian teen

Qatar supports Turkey’s offensive against Kurds

World powers meet on Syria chemical attacks

Morocco's king appoints five new ministers

Pence pledges US embassy move by end of 2019 on Jerusalem trip

Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Yemen conflict

Russia invites Kurds to join Syria peace process

Turkey shells Kurdish targets in northern Syria

Closer look at pro-Ankara rebels amassing around Afrin

Pence set for Palestinian snub

Abbas to ask EU to recognise Palestinian state

Saudi-led coalition to give $1.5 bln in Yemen aid

Mattis: Turkey gave US advance warning on Syria operation

Yemen releases budget for first time in three years

Saudi calls for cooperation between OPEC, non-OPEC countries

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds

The changing faces of al-Qaeda in Syria

Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict