Cecilia Wikström engagerar sig för Hamza Yalcin från Halmstad.
Hamza Yalcin (left) and Swedish EU parliamentarian Cecilia Wikström. Credit: Privat/TT.

EU parliamentarians demand release of Hamza Yalcin

EU parliamentarians want the EU commission to help release Hamza Yalcin, a Turkish-born writer and Swedish citizen, from a Spanish prison after Turkey issued an international warrant for his arrest.

Swedish EU-parliamentarian Cecilia Wikström of the Liberal Party has demanded that the EU commission step in to help release Yalcin from the prison in Barcelona where he has been held since August 3rd.

"What happened to Hamza Yalcin in Spain – the fact that he was arrested on the order of Erdogan's Turkey – is terrible," Wikström told Swedish Radio's local reporters in the western Swedish town of Halmstad, where Yalcin lives.

Several of Wikström's EU colleagues from different countries are also backing her demand and want to know what the EU commission will do to ensure that Swedish citizens can travel freely in Europe, without risking detention on the basis of international arrest warrants issued by Turkey.

Hamza Yalcin is a dual citizen of Turkey and Sweden. The Turkish government has accused him of terrorist activity and he was arrested in Barcelona on August 3rd on an international arrest warrant.

A citizen of Sweden for 33 years, Yalcin was vacationing in Spain and was detained as he was preparing to board a flight at Barcelona's airport, El Prat. He remains in detention.

"Each day that a writer or journalist is deprived of their liberty simply for having used the pen as a weapon in their defence of citizens' freedoms and rights constitutes a major political failure for Sweden and the EU," Wikström wrote in a statement. "It is our responsibility to ensure that Yalcin is immediately released and freed."

Earlier this month, Spanish police, acting on a request from Turkish authorities, also arrested the Turkish-German writer Dogan Akhanli, who was on vacation in Spain. He was able to leave detention after pressure from Germany where the country's chancellor, Angela Merkel, called the arrest “unacceptable”. She said: “We cannot allow international organisations such as Interpol to be misused in this way.”

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