Turkish minister criticizes Denmark for EU complaint over suspect release
Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır. AA PhotoTurkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır has slammed Denmark’s decision to report Turkey to the EU over the release of the suspected shooter of a Danish writer.
“The suspect has been freed with a court decision and has been disappeared. It’s not right to blame Turkey,” Bozkır said, speaking to reporters in Stockholm on Nov. 28, broadcaster NTV has reported.
The release of the suspected shooter of Lars Hedegaard, an outspoken critic of Islam, has severely strained ties between the two countries since early October, causing Turkey’s Danish envoy Mehmet Dönmez to be called to the ministry three times over the past month.
In a statement released on Nov. 26 Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said Copenhagen is pressuring Ankara for an explanation and he spoke with EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini about the issue.
Basil Hassan, a 27-year-old Danish man of Lebanese origin, was arrested in Turkey in April on the suspicion of shooting Lars Hedegaard in Denmark in 2013.
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.
However, official documents reported by daily Hürriyet revealed Hassan’s release had taken place more than two months before the alleged prisoner swap.