Can Dündar, a Turkish dissident in hiding in Germany, created quite some confusion today by cancelling and then re-affirming his presence at “De Bali”-debate centre in Amsterdam. According to Can an international arrest warrant was issued for his arrest by the Turkish Government.
Leaking State Secrets – Exile in Germany.
The former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s biggest secular newspaper, found himself in a world of trouble after leaking information, and videos, of the Turkish secret service and military providing arms to Jihadist fighters and buying oil from Islamic State controlled territory.
He was sentenced to six years in jail, for releasing state secrets, but released by the Turkish high court and then found himself the target of an assassination. While leaving court, an assaillant fired two shots at Can – who’s wife and a member of parliament managed to stop the would-be killer with Can escaping unharmed. Another journalist however suffered a leg injury.
The attacker was arrested by law enforcement on the scene, however many believe that Turkish president Erdogan words and public calls were the reason behind the attempt. Erdogan has often been accussed of riling up his supporters to harrass, or worse, his opponents and those who criticize him.
The attack, in May 2016, triggered Can to go into exile in Germany in June. He stepped down as Editor-in-Chief in August that same year. He currently still resides in Germany, from which he planned to travel to Amsterdam for a speech and debate.
Cancelling a Cancellation
After the Turkish government requested an arrest warrant with Interpol, the international police agency, for his capture – the Turkish dissident backed out of his speech, fearing arrest in Holland’s capital city.
In a statement on De Bali’s-website: “You can imagine how sorry I am about this last minute cancellation. But especially at this moment in time, it is more important than ever that we keep on fighting for our fundamental freedoms and promoting democratic values.”
Sometimes sticking with a decision can just be confusing.
Then the City of Amsterdam jumped in and guaranteed the journalist that he would not be arrested on Dutch soil, prompting him to re-affirm his coming to the speech/debate.
It also remains unclear whether or not Interpol has officially accepted Turkey’s request for an arrest warrant against Can.
Dutch-Turkish Relations – A Major Dent.
It remains to be seen what the Turkish government’s reaction will be about the Dutch, and Amsterdam, authorities response to the situation.
In recent months the Dutch-Turkish relations have faced some real damage when authorities refused a Turkish minister to address Turkish crowds about voting for Erdogan and his reforms.
The situation escalated to such an extend that armed police stopped the minister’s motorcade and sent her back across the border, into Germany, by police escort. Hundreds of Turkish Erdogan supporters then took to the street and riots erupted in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and other cities.
Erdogan then attacked the Netherlands, as well as Germany, several times for being a Nazi-regime that hated foreigners, especially the Turkish, and were going to feel the consequences. The Turkish government pledged sanctions against both countries, but so far steps for such actions have not yet been taken.