The Turkish government is seeking the extradition of a Turkish-German dual citizen in Ukraine, identified as Kemal K., on murder charges, although the lawyer for the accused claims the request is politically motivated.
Kemal K. was detained at Kyiv’s Zhuliany International Airport on an Interpol Red Notice issued by Turkey on July 23. He was released three days later but has not been allowed to leave the country pending a decision on his extradition, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.
Ukrainian authorities have until November to decide whether or not to comply with Turkey’s request.
The German Foreign Ministry confirmed the man’s detention on Wednesday, saying that they hope Ukrainian officials will soon make a decision.
“Our embassy in Kyiv is dealing with the case. …. We are urging the Ukraine authorities to quickly reach a decision to enable K. to return to Germany,” a ministry spokeswoman told news agency AFP, according to DW.
Kemal K., who owns a kiosk in the western German city of Cologne, is married to a Ukrainian woman and traveled to the country for personal reasons.
Turkish authorities say Kemal K. is wanted for alleged involvement in two murders in Turkey.
He was detained for several months in 2007 in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg over the charges. However, a high regional court in Karlsruhe denied his extradition, citing “considerable doubts about the existence of sufficient suspicion” in the case at the time.
Kemal K.’s lawyer told the media that his client is a communist party supporter of Kurdish origin and was politically persecuted in Turkey before he fled to Germany in 2007, where he was granted asylum. He became a naturalized German citizen in 2016.
The Turkish government has been widely criticized for using Interpol warrants for its own political purposes, with several requests made to detain dissidents across Europe in the last few months.
Kemal K.’s case is remarkably similar to that of German-Turkish author Doğan Akhanlı, who was detained in August while on vacation in Spain due to a Turkish-requested Interpol warrant. Akhanlı was released shortly thereafter but was only allowed to leave Spain last week after Spanish authorities ruled against extraditing him to Turkey, which had sought his extradition on alleged murder charges.
(Parts of this article appeared on Turkey Purge)