A close trade partner and an ally in the fight against terrorism, Germany is now at loggerheads with Turkey for offering what Ankara sees as a safe haven for terror suspects.
Germany has tolerated the propaganda of the PKK terrorist group's supporters and they freely held rallies and even had a videolink address by a senior leader of the group.
The country, home to more than 3 million Turks, nowadays faces criticism for its refusal to pursue the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) whose sympathizers freely operate in the country with schools and companies they run, while several renowned Gülenist figures wanted by Turkey are believed to be in hiding.
Yesterday, a few hours after state-run news agency Anadolu reported Germany issued a passport for Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily wanted for charges of supporting FETÖ, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Berlin for "harboring terrorists." Speaking at an event in capital Ankara, Erdoğan said Turkey handed some 4,000 dossiers about the suspects Turkey wanted from Germany to the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel but did not receive any response.
Erdoğan said Turkey was concerned "or rather horrified" about Germany's approach to the issue of terrorism. Reminding that Turkey has recently asked for the capture and extradition of Turkish prosecutors linked to FETÖ, Erdoğan slammed the statement by German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who told reporters on Wednesday that they were not investigating Gülenists "who do not have an organized structure in Germany." Maas has also said Berlin would not extradite any suspects if they faced "politically motivated charges" in Turkey.
President Erdoğan criticized Germany for offering a safe haven for the PKK despite it being recognized as a terrorist group by the European Union. "I presented 4,000 dossiers to Ms. Merkel and asked during her recent visit to Istanbul what happened to those dossiers. She just said the number of dossiers now rose to 4,500. I told her I could not grasp how a democratic country, a prominent country of the European Union which designated [the PKK] a terrorist group would continue protecting them," Erdoğan said.
The Turkish president said terrorism was "like a boomerang" and would turn back and strike Germany. "You will be remembered as the supporters of terrorism. We are worried that Germany, which harbored terrorist groups like the PKK and DHKP-C [a far-left terrorist group that carried out a string of attacks in Turkey in recent years], is now turning into FETÖ's backyard," he said. In October, Ankara asked Germany to locate and arrest Zekeriya Öz and Celal Kara, two FETÖ-linked prosecutors. Although the exact location of Kara and Öz remains unknown, Can Dündar, for whom a court issued a detention warrant earlier this week for aiding FETÖ, resides in Germany to where he traveled before the July 15 coup attempt. Dündar was detained earlier in Turkey for supporting the terrorist group, but he was later freed pending trial. Anadolu Agency reported Germany issued a temporary passport for Dündar, allowing him to stay in Germany and travel abroad even if his Turkish passport becomes cancelled. "I don't see a good future for Germany. It has become a country harboring terrorists and a country where Turks face increasing racist attacks. It is unacceptable that Germany, instead of preventing these attacks, decides to harbor terrorists," he said, adding that German authorities should visit areas bombed by the July 15 coup plotters if they don't believe FETÖ is a terrorist group," Erdoğan also said.
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