Turkey requested Interpol arrest for exiled journalist Can Dündar

A Turkish court has decided to request for an Interpol red notice for the apprehension of exiled journalist Can Dündar on charges of knowingly and willingly helping an armed terrorist organisation, according to Turkish media. 

Dündar has been asked to surrender to a court or law enforcement agency in Turkey within 15 days, state-run TRT Haber reported on Tuesday.

Dündar, a former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper who lives in Germany, is facing a possible life sentence in a trial that began on April 28 concerning the Gezi Park protests of 2013.

The protests began as a small sit-in in Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim square against the proposed destruction of one of the city’s few remaining green spaces to make way for a shopping mall. They spread across the country. Eleven people were killed and more than 8,000 injured in ensuing violence after the government ordered a police crackdown.

In December, a Turkish court sentenced Dündar in absentia to 27 years in prison for terror and espionage crimes. He allegedly committed the offences during Cumhuriyet’s reporting of the Turkish intelligence Service (MİT) allegedly shipping weapons to Syrian jihadist groups.

A red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Red notices are published by Interpol at the request of a member country and must comply with Interpol's constitution and rules. A red notice is not an international arrest warrant.

Every red notice request is checked by a specialised task force to ensure it is compliant with Interpol's rules. There are currently 29 approved red notices for Turkish citizens, according to Interpol's website. There are two red notices issued by Interpol for Turkish nationals wanted by Turkey.

On June 3, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said that Turkey’s relations with Interpol are not at the desired level, because the agency is hesitating to cooperate with Ankara following the failed coup of July 15, 2016, that Turkey blames the Gülen movement and its United States-based leader Fetullah Gülen for orchestrating it.

By the end of 2019, Interpol has rejected 646 red notice requests by Turkey since the coup attempt in 2016, according to the country’s interior ministry figures.  

A total of 462 of those notices, which alerts police worldwide about internationally wanted fugitives, were requested for people suspected of membership in the Gülen movement, while another 115 red notices were requested for alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged four-decades-long insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey. The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the EU and the United States.