German MP says she was detained in Turkey for social media posts

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German lawmaker said on Sunday she was detained for several hours when entering Turkey earlier this month based on social media posts she made in 2019, adding that she would still travel to Turkey and speak her mind about its government.

Goekay Akbulut, a Bundestag member for far-left Die Linke party, was detained in Antalya airport on Aug. 3 after an arrest warrant was issued by the Turkish public prosecutor for alleged “terror propaganda”, she said.

Germany is home to the world’s largest Turkish diaspora community, but relations between Berlin and Ankara have been strained in recent years by German criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on suspected opponents after a failed coup in 2016 and Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria in 2019.

Akbulut, a Turkey-born German citizen of Kurdish heritage, was released after making contact with the German foreign ministry, she said. Turkish authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Akbulut has criticized the Turkish government for “waging a brutal war against the Kurdish population inside and outside its borders,” according to her official website.

“I will travel to #Tuerkei in October again as part of the delegation trip of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Group and, as always, will not mince my words: #FreeThemAll,” she said in a post on social media platform X on Sunday.

It was not clear exactly what she was referring to, nor which social media posts she believed triggered the Turkish arrest warrant.

The German embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Antalya were in contact with lawmaker, a source at the German foreign ministry told Reuters.

Akbulut, 40, has called for the lifting of a German ban on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa in Berlin; Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara; Editing by Ros Russell)