Gökay Akbulut, a Die Linke member of the German Bundestag, was detained at Antalya airport on arrival in Turkey on 3 August, only to be released several hours later. The incident occurred in spite of Akbulut identifying herself as a German MP.
The German Foreign Office confirmed the incident to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, saying that the German Embassy in Ankara and its Consulate in Antalya had been in close contact with the MP. The German government intervened at a high level, emphatically and through various channels, to secure her immediate release.
Akbulut, who has been an MP since 2017, spoke about her arrest on the platform X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday evening. “It was only on arrival at the airport in Turkey that I learnt there was a warrant out for my arrest from the Kayseri prosecutor’s office. The file was deleted within a few hours, before I had to make a statement. I thank the Foreign Office for their swift action! The incident has once again shown that there is no division of power in Turkey. Don’t worry: I will not be intimidated by the arrest warrant,” she said.
Akbulut’s statement about the lack of division of power in Turkey is rooted in the circumstances of her arrest, the involvement of various authorities, the swift deletion of the warrant, and the political and diplomatic context of the incident which might be viewed as symptomatic of broader concerns about the rule of law and democratic governance in Turkey.
The Mannheim-born politician, who has been a member of the Bundestag since 2017, has previously advocated for the lifting of the ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Germany. She submitted a related inquiry in the Bundestag’s question time in May 2022.