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German critic of Turkey's Erdogan arrested in Spain

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BERLIN  - German-Turkish author Dogan Akhanli was arrested in Spain on Saturday after Turkey issued an Interpol warrant for the writer, a critic of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Der Spiegel magazine reported.

The arrest of the German national was part of a "targeted hunt against critics of the Turkish government living abroad in Europe," Akhanli's lawyer Ilias Uyar told the magazine.

Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been increasingly strained in the aftermath of last year's failed coup in Turkey as Turkish authorities have sacked or suspended 150,000 people and detained more than 50,000, including other German nationals.

Spanish police arrested Akhanli on Saturday in the city of Granada, Der Spiegel reported. Any country can issue an Interpol "red notice", but extradition by Spain would only follow if Ankara could convince Spanish courts it had a real case against him.

Akhanli, detained in the 1980s and 1990s in Turkey for opposition activities, including running a leftist newspaper, fled Turkey in 1991 and has lived and worked in the German city of Cologne since 1995.

On Friday, Erdogan urged the three million or so people of Turkish background living in Germany to "teach a lesson" to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats in September's general election by voting against her. That drew stinging rebukes from across the German political spectrum.

Calls to the German foreign ministry regarding the arrest of Akhanli were not immediately returned.

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Muslim Global: German critic of Turkey's Erdogan arrested in Spain
German critic of Turkey's Erdogan arrested in Spain
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