Lately, it seems that every week Germany’s ties with Turkey hit another low point, and there are few signs of this trend reversing any time soon. The latest escalation came with the arrest last week of Dogan Akhanli, a Turkish-born German writer on vacation in Spain, following a warrant issued by Turkey.
German officials decried the move as politically motivated and warned that the Turkish government may be using the multinational police organization Interpol to pursue political opponents abroad. Akhanli’s detention is the most recent in a string of arrests of German citizens both in Turkey and abroad. Since the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, the Turkish authorities have arrested 22 German citizens, nine of whom remain in prison.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the German government of giving shelter to Kurdish militants and suspects wanted for alleged ties to the coup plotters. Last week, Erdogan called on German voters with Turkish backgrounds to punish Germany’s mainstream political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections in September for being “enemies of Turkey.” That prompted a warning to Erdogan by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel not to “meddle” in the German elections.