Merkel attacks Turkey’s “misuse” of Interpol warrants

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses an election campaign rally of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Steinhude, western Germany, in this August 18, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 21 August 2017
0

Merkel attacks Turkey’s “misuse” of Interpol warrants

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Turkey’s use of an Interpol arrest warrant to detain a German writer in Spain, telling an election town hall event on Sunday that this amounted to abuse of the international police agency.
Dogan Akhanli was stopped in Spain on Saturday after Ankara issued a “red notice.” The German-Turkish writer was released on Sunday but must remain in Madrid while Spain assesses Turkey’s extradition request.
“It is not right and I’m very glad that Spain has now released him,” Merkel said. “We must not misuse international organizations like Interpol for such purposes.”
Relations between Turkey and the European Union have been under growing strain since last year’s failed military coup in Turkey. European-Turkish nationals are among the 50,000 people detained since then in what critics condemn as an indiscriminate crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Merkel has been more muted in her criticism of Erdogan than other German politicians, with critics charging her with being beholden to Erdogan because of Turkey’s role as a buffer against a renewed flood of Syrian war refugees arriving in Europe.
“(Dogan’s) is one of many cases, unfortunately,” Merkel said, in a sharpening of her tone toward Ankara. “That’s why we have massively changed our Turkish policy recently ... because it’s quite unacceptable that Erdogan does this.”
On Saturday Erdogan urged Turks in Germany to “teach a lesson” to Germany’s “anti-Turkish” mainstream parties in next month’s parliamentary election, despite German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s warning he should keep out of German politics.
“Who are you to talk to the president of Turkey? Talk to Turkey’s foreign minister. Know your place,” Erdogan said at a rally for his AK Party in the southwestern province of Denizli.
European countries with large Turkish diasporas have grown increasingly uneasy at what they see as Ankara’s attempts to use ethnic Turkish populations to influence domestic politics.
“President Erdogan is trying to instrumentalize ethnic Turkish communities, especially in German and Austria,” Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told Die Welt newspaper. “He polarizes and brings Turkish conflicts into the EU.”
The final days before elections in the Netherlands this year were overshadowed by violent protests by local affiliates of Erdogan’s party. German security officials have expressed concern about a possible repetition in Germany.
Interpol did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Merkel’s remarks.


Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

Updated 3 min 7 sec ago
0

Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

MOSCOW: Russian police on Saturday said they arrested a man for vandalising one of the best known works of 19th century painter Ilya Repin, depicting Ivan the Terrible killing his son, at a gallery in Moscow.
Police said the man used a metal pole to break the glass covering Repin's world famous painting of the 16th century Russian Tsar, titled "Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan on November 16, 1581."
The Tretyakov Gallery said the work was "seriously damaged" as a result.
"The canvas has been ripped in three place in the central part of the Tsar's son. The original frame suffered from the breaking of the glass," the gallery said in a statement.
"Thankfully the most valuable part was not damaged," it added, referring to the face and hands of the Tsar and his son, the Tsarevich.
The statement added that the incident took place late on Friday, just before the museum closed.
"The man entered the already empty Ilya Repin room. He bypassed staff who were scanning the rooms before the closing, and hit the glass of the painting several times with a metal pole," the gallery said.
Russian state news agency TASS reported the man, a 37 year-old from the central city of Voronezh, did so for "historical reasons."
Police later released a video of the man, who said he acted under the influence of alcohol.
"I came to look at it (the painting). I went to the buffet in the evening, I wanted to leave. Then I drank 100 grams of vodka. I don't drink vodka and something hit me," the man said.

Ultra patriotic groups have protested against the painting before, notably in 2013 when monarchists demanded for it to be removed from the gallery.
The gallery refused to remove it and reinforced security around the work.
It is not the first time the painting has suffered an attack. In 1913, a man stabbed the work with a knife, ripping the canvas in three places. Ilya Repin was then still alive and participated in the restoration of his painting.
Since 1913, the painting has been protected by glass.
Russian state officials have lobbied for the rehabilitation of the medieval ruler's image, who led Russia from 1547 to 1583 and earned the moniker "Terrible" due to his brutal policy of oprichnina, which included the creation of a secret police that spread mass terror and executed thousands of people.
He also killed his own son, most likely by accident during a violent rage.
In June 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the story was a "legend" used by the West against Russia.
"Did he kill his son? Did he not? Many experts say he did not and that this was invented by the Pope's Nuncio who came to Russia for talks and tried to turn Orthodox Rus to a Catholic Rus," Putin said.
In October 2016, Russia inaugurated a controversial monument, the first of its kind, to the 16th century tyrant in Oryol, a city some 335 kilometres south of Moscow.