Denmark puzzled by Turkey’s release of shooting suspect
COPENHAGEN – Anadolu Agency
A delegation of high-ranking Danish officials visited Ankara on Friday to investigate reports. AA PhotoTurkey has admitted that it has released a suspect wanted in connection with the attempted murder of a right-wing writer and critic of Islam in Copenhagen in 2013, but it has failed to explain why, Danish Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen has said.
Frederiksen’s comments came on Oct. 19 after a delegation of high-ranking Danish officials visited Ankara on Oct. 17 to investigate reports that a 27-year-old Danish man of Lebanese origin – arrested in Turkey in April for allegedly trying to shoot Danish writer Lars Hedegaard on Feb. 5, 2013 – was later released.
“I find the release of this person incomprehensible,” Frederiksen said, adding that the results of the visit to the Turkish capital would be discussed by the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Oct. 16.
The alleged assassination attempt on Hedegaard failed when the assailant’s gun jammed.
‘Prisoner swap’ claim
The suspect fled Denmark, but was reportedly arrested in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport while trying to enter Turkey using a fake passport.
The family of the shooting suspect, who is believed to have spent time in Syria before being arrested in Turkey, told Danish authorities earlier this month that he was no longer in Turkish custody.
Danish media had previously reported that the suspect, who Denmark wanted to be extradited, was used as part of a prisoner swap conducted in exchange for the release of 46 Turkish hostages held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq.
ISIL militants released the Turkish hostages, who had been abducted from the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul in June, on Sept. 20.
A former newspaper columnist for Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, Hedegaard was convicted of hate speech in 2011 over remarks he made about Muslims, including the phrase, “girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their dad,” but the conviction was overturned by Denmark’s Supreme Court in 2012.
Turkish officials have not commented on the case.