Turkish diplomat nabbed at Saudi airport | News | DW | 18.07.2016
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Turkish diplomat nabbed at Saudi airport

Saudi authorities have detained the Turkish defense attaché to Kuwait at Ankara's request. Meanwhile, Germany has warned Erdogan that re-establishing capital punishment will derail EU membership talks.

Quoting unnamed Saudi sources, Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported Monday that defense attaché Mikail Ihsanoglu was prevented from boarding a flight to Germany from the eastern Saudi city of Dammam.

Authorities said Ihsanoglu had entered Saudi Arabia by land and was ticketed for a flight to the city of Düsseldorf via Amsterdam but was arrested without incident inside the terminal.

It was not immediately clear what - if any - connections Ihsanoglu has in Düsseldorf or Germany in general.

"Saudi authorities are holding the military attaché for the Turkish embassy in Kuwait," the Saudi kingdom's Asharq Al-Awsat daily reported, quoting what it described as a foreign diplomatic source.

"He was stopped based on a Turkish request and was detained during his attempt to flee over his likely links to the coup in Turkey," the daily reported.

Turkey's ambassador in Kuwait, Salih Morat Tamer, told the Al-Qabas newspaper in Kuwait that Gullu is suspected of involvement in the coup attempt but stressed that "accusations against him are yet to be investigated once he is handed over to Turkey."

The official Saudi Press Agency meanwhile reported that Saudi King Salman, who is vacationing in Morocco, telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "congratulate him on Turkey's return to normality" after the failed uprising by a faction of the military.

EU, US call urge restraint

Judges and military commanders are among the nearly 9,000 people arrested so far as Erdogan vowed to stamp out the "virus" of the coup plotters he blamed on the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Arrests in Izmir

Arrests in Izmir

US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated that Washington supports Turkey's elected government, but warned against witch hunts and reprisals.

"We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice, but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that," Kerry said Monday.

Germany has gone further, saying EU talks would be suspended if Erdogan followed through with threats to re-establish capital punishment in the country.

"Introducing the death penalty in Turkey would mean the end of EU membership talks," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday.

That adds to a chorus of European leaders and diplomats calling for restraint as purges continue in Turkey.

jar/kms (AFP, dpa)

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