EU criticizes Turkey over Interpol demands 'abuse'

EU criticizes Turkey over Interpol demands 'abuse'

Güven Özalp - BRUSSELS
EU criticizes Turkey over Interpol demands abuse

Members of the European Parliament, during a plenary sitting on Oct. 4, gave the message that Turkey is “abusing” the International Criminal Police Organization’s (Interpol) Red Notices.

“It is important that a proper review takes place of the Red Notice before issuance” and that an “effective redress mechanism exists” for people are Interpol targets, said Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas, speaking at a session in the European Parliament.

“The Red Notice is never the sole basis for a return decision … The correct judicial process is required,” Maasikas said, underlining that the number of red bulletins had “increased significantly” in the recent period.

Vera Jourova, a European Commission member on justice, consumer and gender equality, said it is “worrying” when Interpol Red Notices are “used by some countries for political purposes.”

“It is up to Interpol to put in place procedures to prevent abuse,” Jourova said.

Many members of the European Parliament who took the floor during the session said countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Turkey are using Interpol Red Notices to silence political dissident.

The European Parliament’s decision to hold the plenary session came after Turkey issued a Red Notice for Hamza Yalçın, a Turkish-Swedish reporter and writer, as well as German-Turkish writer Doğan Akhanlı, who were subsequently detained temporarily in Spain.

The Oct. 4-dated plenary session also referred to a resolution taken by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe earlier this year, which called on Interpol “to continue improving its Red Notice procedure in order to prevent and redress abuses even more effectively.”

The resolution in April had noted that Interpol’s Red Notice system has been “abused by some countries to repress freedom of expression or to persecute members of the political opposition beyond their borders.”

A Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition, but Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual that is the subject of the notice. Each member country decides for itself what legal value to give a Red Notice within their borders.