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INTERPOL says Turkey’s 2018 Red Notice request for Dündar denied for being ‘political’

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INTERPOL had denied a Red Notice request from Turkey for former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily and journalist in exile Can Dündar back in 2018, reminding Ankara that it was strictly forbidden for them to undertake any “intervention or activities of a political character,” Deutsche Welle Turkish edition reported on Friday, citing an official from the international police organization.

After local media on Tuesday reported that a Turkish court decided to submit a Red Notice request for Dündar on charges of knowingly and willingly helping an armed terrorist organization, Euronews Turkish service revealed, citing an INTERPOL official, that the General Secretariat previously rejected a similar request from Turkey and that no new requests had been conveyed to the organization as of June 9.

In a written answer to DW’s questions on the previously denied request on Dündar, the organization’s spokesperson said that upon rejecting it, the General Secretariat had reminded INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Ankara that it had to abide by the organization’s rules and constitution.

“While doing that, the General Secretariat drew attention to the aims of the organization that are mentioned in the 2nd article of the constitution,” DW quoted the spokesperson as saying.

According to Article 2, INTERPOL aims “to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.”

The spokesperson also said they drew attention to Article 3, which says, “It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character,” DW said.

Dündar’s recent arrest warrant was issued over his failure to attend a hearing on the legal action brought against him on charges of “disclosing confidential information related to the state’s security and political interests” and “acquiring the confidential information of the state for political and military espionage.”

An İstanbul court had tried him in connection with a Cumhuriyet story on Turkish intelligence trucks carrying hidden weapons bound for Syria in early 2014. He was sentenced to 27 years, six months on charges of political and military espionage and knowingly and willfully helping a terrorist organization, while the other charges had been separated from the trial.

Dündar was arrested and jailed for 92 days for reporting the interception of the Syria-bound trucks allegedly belonging to Turkish intelligence. He was arrested on Nov. 26, 2015 and released on Feb. 26, 2016 following a Constitutional Court decision.

The Turkish government claimed the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens in war-torn Syria and that the search was ordered by followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group labeled as a terrorist organization by Ankara, in the judicial and security institutions.

Shortly after his release and an attack on him, Dündar quit his position as editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet and left Turkey as scores of other journalists under pressure have done. He has lived in Germany since June 2016.

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