German justice minister calls on EU to deal with Turkey’s arrest warrants against critics

German Justice Minister Heiko Mass on Tuesday called on European Union authorities to have an intensive dialogue to deal with Turkey issuing arrest warrants against government critics and using Interpol to chase them abroad.

According to a Deutsche Welle report on Tuesday, Maas said “Within the EU, we must at the very least begin an intensive dialogue about how we deal with arrest warrants from Turkey,” during an interview with a Funke media group newspaper.

Maas’s call came after Doğan Akhanlı, a Turkish-German author who was detained in Madrid on Saturday over an Interpol red notice earlier requested by Turkey.

Akhanlı was released on Sunday on condition that he remain in Madrid while Spain assesses Turkey’s extradition request, his lawyer İlyas Uyar said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday criticized Turkey’s use of an Interpol arrest warrant to detain Akhanlı in Spain, saying that this amounted to abuse of the international police agency.

Meanwhile, Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Enlargement, told Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday that the EU should change its Turkey strategy as it can no longer “shrug” at Ankara’s behavior. “I believe it is time for the member states to discuss the strategic implications of [Turkey’s] behavior,” Hahn said. “Shrugging alone is not a political strategy in the long run.”

“The interference of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a national election campaign, as well as requests for extradition regarding alleged political opponents, are unacceptable,” Hahn said, adding that Ankara “is apparently not willing to revise its course, which brings it further and further away from Europe.”

On August 18, Erdoğan called on Turks in Germany not to vote for the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD), or the Greens, claiming they are “enemies” of Turkey.

“Right now in Germany the [Social Democrats] SPD and the [Christian Democrats] CDU are saying: ‘We can get many votes if we batter Turkey.’ I am telling all my citizens in Germany to never support those parties. Do not support the CDU, the SPD or the Greens. They are all the enemies of Turkey,” Erdoğan told reporters in İstanbul. He also said the recent crisis between Ankara and Berlin was a result of a “race for votes” ahead of the general elections in Germany set to take place on Sept. 24.

Politicians in Germany and Austria blasted the Turkish president’s remarks as an attempt to interfere in their countries’ internal affairs.

Hahn also touched on the detention of Turkish-German writer Doğan Akhanlı in Spain upon Ankara’s request, describing Turkey’s attempt to extract the author from Spain, where he was on holiday, as “unacceptable.” (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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