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LOCAL > Swiss consul’s wife will not claim diplomatic immunity

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Wife of Swiss consulate and head of Chancery Andrea Köppel (L) allegedly fled the scene after hitting a married couple in Istanbul’s Bebek district. DHA photo

Wife of Swiss consulate and head of Chancery Andrea Köppel (L) allegedly fled the scene after hitting a married couple in Istanbul’s Bebek district. DHA photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

The wife of the Swiss consulate and head of Chancery, for whom a restraining order was issued following a hit and run motorbike accident she was involved in, will not use her diplomatic immunity, the Swiss Consulate General has said.

A Swiss consular car driven by the Swiss Consul Florian Köppel’s wife, Andrea Köppel, hit a married couple on a motorcycle in Istanbul’s Bebek neighborhood on Feb 6. Köppel allegedly fled the scene immediately after crashing into a motorcycle carrying 49-year-old Doğan Durmuş İnal and his wife, Filiz İnal.

Filiz İnal was badly injured and was taken to Şişli Etfal Hospital while Doğan Durmuş İnal suffered minor injuries. Köppel later denied accusations she had fled the scene, but accounts from witnesses stated otherwise.

Yesterday, a court barred her from leaving Turkey and required her to sign in at a police station every Friday.

In this case no immunity is being invoked,  Pierre-Alain Eltschinger,  General Secretary of the Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs said via an email interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

Swiss Consul General Monika Schmutz Kırgöz said Köppel will not claim immunity and will cooperate with Turkish authorities until the investigation is concluded.

“It is still an ongoing investigation. We will fully, totally cooperate with the Turkish authorities and we do not claim immunity whatsoever. We will totally cooperate,” Schumtz told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a phone interview.

Schumtz also said her staff was shocked at the incident and they had turned their focus to Filiz İnal’s medical condition.

“My whole staff and I, we are totally in shock. We just hope Mrs. Filiz will get better soon. We want to focus on her health condition now,” Schumutz said.

Schumtz said that Köppel would appear in person if required to stand trial over the incident.

At the time of the accident, Doğan Durmuş İnal alleged Köppel was driving too fast.

“I was riding the motorbike and my wife was sitting behind me. We were both wearing helmets. After she honked, we couldn’t do anything. I was driving at 60 kilometers per hour. It’s a reasonable speed,” İnal said.

February/08/2013

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