PACE rapporteur condemns Turkey’s abuse of Interpol, Red Notice for Doğan Akhanlı

Doğan Akhanlı

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rapporteur Bern Fabritius on Monday condemned misuse of Interpol Red Notices by Turkish government against government critical people abroad, including German-Turkish author Doğan Akhanlı’s detention in Spain on Turkey’s request recently.

In a statement on Monday, Fabritius said: “As Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on abusive use of the Interpol Red Notice system to persecute human rights defenders and opposition politicians, I condemn the Red Notice against Doğan Akhanlı requested by Turkey and invite Interpol to re-examine it in light of the rules outlawing politically-motivated interventions and to delete the Notice as appropriate. If an abuse is indeed found, Interpol should apply to Turkey the sanctions suggested in my report.”

A German politician from EPP/CD group in the European Parliament, Fabritius said Interpol Red Notices, which allow police in one country to seek the arrest of a wanted person in another, should be circulated by Interpol only when there are “serious grounds for suspicion against the person in question.”

Fabritius noted that the Interpol Red Notice system was prone to abuse by certain countries and called on Interpol to implement remedial action in order to safeguard this important tool for international police cooperation.

Moreover, the European Commission has also underlined that “Interpol must not be misused” in the wake of Akhanlı being detained upon Turkey’s demand. According to a report by Deutsche Welle Türkçe, European Commission Spokesperson Jyrki Katainen said that “We believe that institutions such as Interpol must not be misused in attempts to detain critical writers against regime.”

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

The 60-year-old writer was detained on Saturday at around 8:30 a.m. local time at his hotel in the southern Spanish city of Granada 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.

“It is not right and I’m very glad that Spain has now released him. (…) We must not misuse international organizations like Interpol for such purposes,” Merkel said during an election town hall event.

The lawyer of German-Turkish author Doğan Akhanlı has said he does not expect Akhanlı to be repatriated to Turkey, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday. Arguing that Turkey’s request does not carry the aim of a judicial investigation but rather was a hunt via Interpol, Uyar said he appreciated German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance on the issue.

While the charges against him remain unclear, German officials said the move was politically motivated.

Having fled Turkey to Germany in 1991, Akhanlı was detained by Spanish police over an Interpol red notice earlier requested by Turkey. Akhanlı is a member of International PEN and has written much on human rights issues as well as the Armenian “genocide.”

“His arrest was part of a targeted witch-hunt against critics of the Turkish government living abroad in Europe,” Akhanlı’s lawyer told German media.

Deutsche Welle said he was previously arrested in Turkey for opposition activities including running a leftist newspaper while also being briefly detained in August 2010 when he traveled to İstanbul on suspicion of manslaughter and robbery.

Akhanlı’s detention came only days after Swedish-Turkish writer Hamza Yalçın was taken under custody in Barcelona over another Interpol red notice requested by Turkey. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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