Police said on Tuesday that Hamza Yalcin, a writer known for his critical essays written in exile, had been arrested on August 3 at Barcelona airport.
Barcelona National Police spokesman Jose Antonio Nin said Yalcin, who is also a Swedish national, was being held pending an extradition hearing as he was arrested on an international arrest order from Turkey for an alleged role in acts of terror.
Yalcin’s detention met swift criticism from activists in Sweden who said the arrest was a sign of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing inclination to hunt anti-government dissidents, even if they are out of Turkey’s reach.
“This is worrying that exiled journalists can be arrested,” said Jonathan Lundqvist, the head of the Swedish branch of Reporters Without Borders, adding that it was now up to Madrid to prevent Yalcin’s extradition to Turkey, where “over 100 other journalists have been charged by the Erdogan regime for similar crimes.”
Since he fled to Sweden in 1984, Yalcin has been writing commentaries in Odak Dergisi, a magazine critical of the Turkish government.
Turkey’s treatment of journalists following a failed coup last summer has sparked fierce concerns, especially in Europe, where governments have warned Ankara that its stifling measures against media staff could affect Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.
Yalcin is the second Swedish national to be caught in Turkey’s crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the July 15, 2016 coup. Ali Gharavi was arrested earlier last month when he was attending a seminar about freedom of the internet in Turkey in an island near Istanbul.