A German lawmaker of Kurdish origin was detained for several hours at an airport in Turkey earlier this month, according to German media reports. Goekay Akbulut, a member of the far-left Die Linke party, said she was held in Antalya on August 3 based on an arrest warrant issued by the Turkish public prosecutor for alleged “terror propaganda” in her social media posts.
Akbulut, who has criticized the Turkish government for its treatment of the Kurdish population and its military interventions in Syria, said she was released after contacting the German foreign ministry. She also said she would continue to travel to Turkey and speak her mind about its policies.
Gleich nachdem öffentlich wurde, dass ich in der #Türkei festgenommen wurde, erreichte mich eine Welle der Solidarität. Dies gibt mir Kraft und Motivation für unser gemeinsames politisches Engagement. Dafür bin ich unendlich dankbar! pic.twitter.com/UbUqsQXi5f
— Gökay Akbulut MdB (@AkbulutGokay) August 15, 2023
The incident has added to the tensions between Germany and Turkey, which have been strained by Berlin’s condemnation of Ankara’s crackdown on dissent and human rights violations after a failed coup attempt in 2016. Germany is home to the world’s largest Turkish diaspora community, with about three million people of Turkish origin living in the country.
Akbulut, 40, was born in Turkey and moved to Germany as a child. She has called for the lifting of a German ban on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been waging a decades-long armed struggle against the Turkish state for Kurdish autonomy and rights.