Political News

Spain arrests writer on Turkish order alleging terrorism

Posted August 8

— Spanish police said Tuesday they have arrested a Turkish-Swedish reporter and writer in Barcelona on an international arrest order from Turkey for alleged terrorism.

Barcelona National Police spokesman Jose Antonio Nin said Hamza Yalcin was detained at Barcelona airport Aug. 3 and is now being held pending an extradition hearing. He said Yalcin has been handed over to National Court authorities.

Jonathan Lundqvist, head of the Swedish branch of Reporters Without Borders, said the arrest was an attempt by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show "he can reach critical voices even if they are not in the country."

Lundqvist said Yalcin has written in the magazine Odak Dergisi — which is critical of the Turkish regime — since he fled to Sweden in 1984. He said Spain has now to decide whether to hand him to Turkey where "over 100 other journalists have been charged by the Erdogan regime for similar crimes."

"This is worrying that exiled journalists can be arrested," he told The Associated Press.

Elisabeth Asbrink, chairwoman of the Swedish branch of writers' association PEN International, called for the release of Yalcin as well of another Swedish citizen, IT consultant Ali Gharavi, who was arrested July 5 while attending a seminar about freedom of the internet in Turkey.

"It is obvious that Turkey and President Erdogan show a lack of respect for EU citizens. Sweden must of course do everything to ensure the release of these two and it is urgent," said Asbrink.

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This story has been corrected to give the order of the Turkish president's names as Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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