JEDDAH: Turkey has come under intense fire after the stunning escape of ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul.
Security experts have called into question Turkey’s international responsibilities.
To make matters worse for Istanbul, a former Interpol official, who spoke to Arab News on condition of anonymity, said Turkey had dismissed the organization’s Red Notices many times in the past.
“Turkey’s Justice Ministry ignored the presence of red notice for many criminals who were sought by Interpol and it even didn’t accept giving a temporary arrest decision for the catalogue crimes. It is just a reflex for not taking any responsibility,” he said, adding that: “Ghosn’s case showed us that Turkey acts contrary to the spirit of an international operation. Under normal circumstances, it should have given its decision of arrest within hours without letting the suspect to flee.”
Video by AFP showing Turkish policemen taking seven people to an Istanbul court after they were arrested on suspicion of aiding Ghosn escape from Japan.
A prominent security expert and an ex-military officer based in Ankara spoke to Arab News on condition of anonymity and said that the preliminary findings of the investigation show that there is an internationally organized crime gang behind it.
Turkish private aircraft operator MNG Jet, which filed a criminal complaint, said on Friday that its planes were used illegally by the international fugitive.
An employee from the company had admitted falsifying records and did not include Ghosn’s name in the general declaration form about the flight.
But Ghosn’s freedom could come at the cost of the liberty of those who helped him.
Seven Turkish nationals including four pilots, who were detained on Thursday under the investigation of Turkish Interior Ministry, were sent to court on Friday.
If they are founded guilty, they will be charged with Article 79 of the Turkish Penal Code that regulates migrant smuggling and human trafficking. If sentenced, they are facing a prison sentence of three to eight years.
Turkey has been an Interpol member since June 13, 1956.
A Turkish lawyer based in the Malatya province said people who are sought by the red notice should be considered criminals by all members of Interpol.
“Helping these suspects to flee from Turkey also constitutes a crime of complicity under article 238 of the Turkish Penal Code, which carries a prison sentence from six months to five years,” he told Arab News.
The lawyer added that Interpol serves as a communication channel between the member countries on cooperation in criminal matters, but it doesn’t have binding authority over its members.
On its website, Interpol states: “The legal basis for a Red Notice is an arrest warrant or court order issued by the judicial authorities in the country concerned. Many of our member countries consider a Red Notice to be a valid request for provisional arrest.”