Turkey detains German MP for social media posts

Gokay Akbulut, a Turkey-born German citizen of Kurdish heritage, said she was held for several hours

A woman in Berlin queues to cast her vote in the Turkish general elections. EPA
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German politician Gokay Akbulut said on Sunday she was detained when entering Turkey earlier this month based on social media posts she made in 2019, adding that she would still travel to the country and speak her mind about its government.

An arrest warrant was issued by the Turkish public prosecutor for Ms Akbulut, who is a Bundestag member for the far-left Die Linke party, over alleged "terror propaganda" and she was held in Antalya airport on August 3 for several hours, she said.

Despite Germany being home to the world's largest Turkish diaspora community, relations between Berlin and Ankara have been strained in recent years by German criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on suspected opponents after a failed coup in 2016 and Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria in 2019.

Ms Akbulut, a Turkey-born German citizen of Kurdish heritage, was released after making contact with the German foreign ministry, she said. Turkish authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Ms Akbulut has criticised the Turkish government for "waging a brutal war against the Kurdish population inside and outside its borders," according to her official website.

"I will travel to #Tuerkei in October again as part of the delegation trip of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Group and, as always, will not mince my words: #FreeThemAll," she said in a post on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, on Sunday.

It was not clear exactly what she was referring to, nor which social media posts she believed triggered the Turkish arrest warrant.

The German embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Antalya were in contact with the politician, a source at the German foreign ministry told Reuters.

Ms Akbulut, 40, has called for the lifting of a German ban on the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the US.

Updated: August 14, 2023, 6:40 AM