President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday said Turkey had the right to request the extradition from Germany of Can Dündar, former editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, describing him as an agent who had been convicted of espionage, Reuters reported.
“This person is a convicted criminal according to Turkish law,” Erdoğan told a news conference in Berlin after talks with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Dündar had previously announced that he would attend the press conference and ask questions of Erdoğan, who reportedly might have canceled the briefing over Dündar’s participation. Dündar later said he would not attend.
Merkel said it was Dündar’s decision and that she could confirm that her opinion about Dündar was different than that of Erdoğan, according to the Özgürüz news website.
Dündar and a colleague were sentenced in 2016 to five years in prison for publishing a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. They were released pending appeal, and Dündar left the country.
Erdoğan’s state visit to the country sparked controversy due to his authoritarian rule, leading to street protests by Turkish and Kurdish groups living in Germany.