09/08/2017, 16.41
TURKEY

Erdogan imposes silence even outside Turkish borders

by Pierre Balanian

Through Interpol and the fight against terror, the Turkish president is able to get the arrest of journalists exiled in Germany or Sweden. The latter have been accused of "terrorism" because they criticise Erdogan, or publish articles on the Armenian Genocide or the Kurds.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The number of journalists detained in Turkey, which now stands at 133, includes a 27-year-old French student, Loup Bureau, who worked as a freelance journalist for a French television network. The “crime” by the Nantes native was taking selfies with some Kurdish Peshmerga. Not even a phone call from French President Emmanuel Macron got him released.

In addition to journalists arrested in Turkey, people will have to get used to the arrest and the extradition of journalists or intellectuals of Turkish origin, citizens or residents of European countries. This is the new weapon used by the Turkish government to stifle criticism outside the country. Its instrument is Interpol and the country’s much abused anti-terrorism law.

This is what happened to Dogan Akhanli, a German and Turkish citizen, who has lived in Germany for 40 years. He was in Spain on holiday when Spanish police arrested him at the request of Turkish Interpol at the entrance of the hotel where was staying. Brought to Madrid, the Spanish Justice Ministry is waiting for Turkish authorities to provide the evidence.

Dogan Akhanli's fault is one of the worst. For his government, he is a traitor because he wrote books on the Armenian Genocide. Worse still, he also published essays on Kurdish rights. Hence the accusation of supporting terrorism.

In Spain again, this time in Spain, ​​another Turkish citizen, Hamza Yalcin, believed to be a Swedish citizen, found himself in the same situation. Whilst vacationing, he was arrested at the Barcelona airport following an arrest warrant against him issued by Turkish authorities.

For Spanish police waiting for Turkey to apply for his extradition, the 60-year-old journalist is charged with insulting the president Erdogan online.

From Sweden, the exiled journalist freely expressed his ideas on the net. But in his country of origin, Turkey, such "freedom" is a crime that could cost him 22 years in prison, which, given his age, would mean life imprisonment.

After imposing a reign of terror in the country with the arrest of illustrious and popular journalists, Turkey is now trying to impose silence through fear among European citizens of Turkish origin or among Turks or Turkish immigrants abroad.

If they are against Turkey’s ruling party and President Erdogan, they risk extradition for "terrorism". As Lenin famously said, "prison is a good school". Sending opposition journalists and thinkers will teach everyone the virtue of silence.

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