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Lawyer Says German Author Sought By Turkey Is Released In Spain


Turkish writer Dogan Akhanli (file photo)

The lawyer for German author Dogan Akhanli says a Spanish court granted conditional release to his client, a day after his arrest on a warrant from Turkey.

Ilyas Uyar wrote on Facebook following an August 20 court hearing that Akhanli "is being released from detention on condition he stays in Madrid," and that Ankara would be required to formally request his extradition.

Akhanli was born in Turkey but emigrated to Germany in 1991 after spending years in Turkish prisons following the 1984 military coup in the country.

Berlin responded quickly to his August 19 arrest by Spanish police, urging Spain not to extradite Akhanli, who has written critically of Turkey's human rights record.

The German affiliate of PEN, the writers association, said it believes the arrest warrant is politically motivated, citing his writings about the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey in 1915.

The World War I-era slaughter and deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks is considered by many historians and several nations as genocide. Turkey objects, saying that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and because of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate the Christian minority.

Based on reporting by AFP, Deutsche Welle, AP, and dpa