The European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s abuse of Interpol red notices against his critics abroad and political interference in the German elections.
In a statement on their website on Wednesday, GUE/NGL MEPs reacted against the recent detention of German-Turkish author Doğan Akhanlı and Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçın in Spain over Turkey’s requests via Interpol.
“GUE/NGL strongly criticized the latest actions by President Erdoğan in order to silence his critics. His abuse of Interpol in order to have independent, critical Turkish voices arrested overseas in an EU member state is utterly deplorable,” GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said in the statement.
Underlining that there are blatant violations of human rights in Turkey that take the country further away from the EU, Zimmer said: “We also strongly condemn the continuous, arbitrary arrests and detention of over 50 000 people inside Turkey since July 2016 coup attempt, including critical voices, journalists, judges, opposition politicians and other ordinary citizens.”
Zimmer also denounced Erdoğan’s political interference ahead of next month’s federal elections in Germany, saying: “I also strongly reject Erdoğan’s recent attempt in trying to influence the German federal elections by urging German citizens of Turkish origins to not vote for certain political parties such as the CDU, the SPD and the Greens and by describing them as ‘enemies of Turkey’.”
“Such political interference is unacceptable and I reject his comments wholeheartedly. I therefore call on our EU institutions to find and adopt a common stance and strong voice against Erdoğan’s latest actions,” he concluded.
Swedish MEP Malin Björk also expressed concern over the detention of Yalçın, saying his arrest was “clearly a politically-motivated measure taken by the anti-democratic Turkish leader.”
“The only crime Yalçin is guilty of is practicing his democratic right in criticizing the Turkish regime. Interpol should not be taking orders from Turkey as it is clear that the rule of law is not respected there. I urge the Swedish and Spanish authorities to act swiftly to ensure Yalçin’s immediate release,” said Björk.
While Akhanlı was released by Spanish authorities but cannot leave Madrid, Yalçın remains in custody in Spain on “terrorism” charges.
Meanwhile, Spanish MEP Marina Albiol strongly criticized her country’s government over the arrests of Akhanlı and Yalçın.
“If the EU lets the Spanish state extradite Yalçin and Akhanli to Turkey then it will once again be the accomplice to Erdoğan’s witch hunt, repression and authoritarianism,” she said.
On Aug. 18, Erdoğan urged Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties of the ruling coalition. Several German political leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Martin Schulz, reacted against Erdoğan and called his words an unprecedented attack on German sovereignty.