Release of attempted murder suspect in Turkey not closed, says Danish PM
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt speaks at the opening of the Global Green Growth Forum on Oct. 20. AFP PhotoQuestions over Turkey’s release of the shooting suspect of a right-wing writer and critic of Islam in Copenhagen in 2013 have not been resolved, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has said, adding that his country is still waiting for an explanation from Ankara.
The release of the attempted murder suspect in an attack on Danish writer Lars Hedegaard was “not comprehensible,” Thorning-Schmidt told Danish daily Politiken.
“This is an incredibly incomprehensible and unacceptable move. We are still waiting for a response on why the suspect is not in custody in Turkey. There should be no doubt that this issue is not closed,” she added.
Danish Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Oct. 19 that Turkey had admitted to releasing Hedegaard’s shooting suspect but had failed to explain why. 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 Hedegaard on Feb. 5, 2013 – was released.
Turkish officials have yet to comment on the case.
The alleged assassination attempt on Hedegaard failed when the assailant’s gun jammed. The suspect fled Denmark, but was reportedly arrested at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport while trying to enter Turkey using a fake passport.
Frederiksen said the results of the visit to the Turkish capital would be discussed by the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Oct. 23.
“This is incredibly scary,” Hedegaard said. “From what I understand from the justice minister is that the suspect’s release has been confirmed, but there is no information on where, when and why this has happened.”
Yıldız Akdoğan, a Danish-Turkish politician who was a member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Democrats 2007-2011, also said she was confused by the situation, adding that the Turkish government had played its cards wrong.
“I do not believe that Denmark will get its answers immediately but I can think of the Americans asking for answers,” Akdoğan told Danish daily Berlingske Tidende.
A former newspaper columnist for 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.” His conviction was overturned by Denmark’s Supreme Court in 2012.