When a German-Turkish writer was detained in Madrid on Saturday on an Interpol red notice issued by Ankara, it marked a tipping point for Germany to lament that Turkey has repeatedly misused the police agency to crack down on Turkish dissidents abroad.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel vehemently criticized Ankara’s overuse of the system. She said the latest request to arrest a German-Turkish writer amounts to an abuse of the international police agency.
Dogan Akhanli was briefly detained on Saturday but released on Sunday. Spanish authorities will not allow him to leave the country until Spain fully assess Turkey’s extradition request.
“It is not right and I’m very glad that Spain has now released him,” Merkel said on Monday, as quoted by Reuters. “We must not misuse international organizations like Interpol for such purposes.”
Ms. Merkel’s criticism sparked a new round of debate over the use of Interpol system by Turkey. In late April, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted to minimize the misuse of the system. European lawmakers accuse Russia, China and Turkey of abusing the system to target political opponents and dissidents.
Turkey’s post-coup crackdown on critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resonates beyond the country’s own borders. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned since a failed coup last summer.
Turkey’s global hunt for Mr. Erdogan’s critics has created points of contention with allies while straining ties with Germany, Greece, the U.S. and a number of other countries over the extradition of alleged coup suspects and members of the Gulen movement.
Update (8/23/17 02:15pm): Matthias Wehler, spokesperson for the German Embassy in Washington, DC, told The Globe Post that the mission in Madrid got in touch with Spanish authorities as soon as they learned about Mr. Akhanli’s detention.
“On the matter of a possible extraditing to Turkey: The Spanish justice authorities are of course independent; however, Mr. Akhanli receives full consular support like any other German citizen anywhere. This would also be the case in Turkey,” he stated.