German lawmaker detained in Turkey vows to continue advocacy

ANTALYA, Turkey — A German parliamentarian revealed on Sunday that she was detained for several hours upon entering Turkey earlier this month, a consequence of her past social media posts from 2019. Unfazed by the incident, she affirmed her commitment to visiting Turkey and expressing her candid opinions about its government.

Gökay Akbulut, a member of the Bundestag representing the left-wing Die Linke party, recounted her experience of detention at Antalya airport on 3 August. This incident stemmed from an arrest warrant issued by the Turkish public prosecutor, alleging “terror propaganda” based on her social media content.

With the world’s largest Turkish diaspora community, Germany shares a complex relationship with Turkey. Recent years have witnessed tensions between Berlin and Ankara, stemming from Germany’s critique of President Tayyip Erdogan’s post-2016 coup crackdown on suspected dissidents and Turkey’s military operations trendy North and East Syria and northern Iraq.

Akbulut, a Germany-born citizen of Kurdish heritage, was eventually released following her contact with the German Foreign Ministry. While Turkish authorities did not provide immediate commentary, Akbulut has a record of condemning the Turkish government’s treatment of the Kurdish population both inside and outside its boundaries, as documented on her official website.

Announcing her unwavering stance, Akbulut disclosed her forthcoming plans. “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 proclaimed on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

The precise nature of the triggering social media posts leading to the Turkish arrest warrant remains unclear. However, the German Foreign Ministry swiftly intervened. Both the German embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Antalya engaged with Akbulut during the incident.

Akbulut has consistently criticized the Turkish government for waging a brutal war on the Kurdish population, both inside and outside its borders, and has advocated for the revocation of Germany’s ban on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).