German authorities have carried out raids against 17 PKK-linked suspects after detention warrants were issued in an investigation into an arson attack on a Turkish cafe in the city of Essen three months ago.
The raids took place in 11 western German cities including Cologne, Dortmund, Bochum, Duisburg and Essen early Thursday, a police spokesman said. The police conducted raids in 30 separate locations, reports said.
In November, several PKK-linked assailants threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Turkish cafe in Essen, injuring one person.
Two days after the incident, police arrested three suspects who remain in investigative custody.
Turkish people living in Germany make up one of the largest Muslim-majority minorities in the country with a population of at least three million according to unofficial figures. Although they have already suffered racist and at times deadly attacks in the past, a recent increase in the flow of migrants especially from the war-torn Middle Eastern country of Syria, gave rise to racist and Islamophobic attacks targeting both Turks and other minorities.
Since the PKK – also listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU – resumed its 30-year armed campaign last year in July, hundreds of members of the security forces and civilians have been killed.
Though the PKK is on the EU's official terrorist organization list, Turkey has complained of member states' indifference towards the terrorist group. Ankara argues that although EU leaders condemn PKK terror in rhetoric, the activities of the group in the EU countries contradict the EU authorities' stance.
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