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Offbeat

Germany welcomes release of writer sought by Turkey

Dogan Akhanli
BERLIN: Germany welcomed the release Sunday of a German writer detained in Spain on a Turkish warrant and accused Turkey of abusing the international system used to hunt down fugitives.
Turkish-born writer Dogan Akhanli, who has German citizenship, was arrested Saturday while on holiday in southern Spain. Akhanli was conditionally released after a court hearing Sunday, but ordered to remain in Madrid while Turkey’s extradition request is considered, his lawyer said.
It was not immediately clear what Akhanli is accused of, but the author has in the past written about the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey in 1915. The killings are a sensitive subject in Turkey, which rejects the widespread view that they constituted genocide.
In a statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised Akhanli’s release and said “it would be terrible if Turkey could get people who raise their voice against (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan imprisoned on the other side of Europe.”
“I have complete faith in Spain’s judicial system and know that our friends and partners in the Spanish government understand what is at stake,” Gabriel said.
Erdogan hit back while speaking to supporters in Istanbul, attributing Ankara’s souring relations with Berlin to next month’s German election and warning Germany to “mind its own business.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the arrest of Akhanli was wrong.

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