As the Turkish government continues to criticize Germany for supporting terrorist organizations that target Turkey, opposition parties have also spoken out against Germany's unwillingness in the counterterrorism fight, slamming Berlin for its uncompromising stance. Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said on Thursday that his party stands by the government's policies aimed at Germany, criticizing the attitude of Berlin on the grounds that it condones the activities of terrorist groups within Germany such as the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which perpetrated the July 15 coup attempt last year.
"While Germany poses itself time-to-time as a democratic nation, an advocate of freedom and a developed country, it has been caught red-handed providing clandestine support to terror groups," Bahçeli said during a press conference at MHP headquarters yesterday. Last week, Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a diplomatic note to Germany over reports that claim Adil Öksüz, one of the suspected masterminds of the failed coup attempt, was spotted in Germany. Touching on this issue, Bahçeli said, "The German government neither accepts nor denies that the terrorist named Adil Öksüz is in their country."
Bahçeli added that it still remains a mystery as to how this terrorist left Turkey, which route and vehicles he used, and to whom he spoke on the phone. While questioning the possible involvement of the German or U.S. embassies on this issue, Bahçeli stated that Germany should immediately extradite the fugitive suspects to Turkey without losing any more time. In line with Bahçeli's remarks, Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Utku Çakırözer also criticized Berlin for its insistent helping hand given to terrorism. "The fight against terrorism can only be won by international solidarity. So, therefore, Turkey's friends and allies should support the country in its fight." CHP Deputy Çakırözer told Daily Sabah: "It is ominous that in the recent period, Turkey's extradition requests regarding people with ties to terror are being unmet. Turkey's allies common stance of denying Turkey's extradition requests in unison, will affect the fight against terrorism adversely," he added.
Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Mustafa Destici also echoed the same view. "As the BBP, we consider the reason for strained relations between the EU and especially with Germany, as not Turkey but the EU member states. The row began after Turkey righteously demanded the extradition of a terrorist harbored in Europe and Germany. It is a natural right of Turkey. It demands the extradition of members of PKK and FETÖ members." Destici told Daily Sabah, "If someone who is involved in terrorist activities in Germany or attempted to overthrow the German government, seeks asylum in Turkey and the latter rejects extradition on the grounds of domestic law, Germany should not remain silent. It should impose sanctions on Turkey if something like this were to happen. Germany has to evaluate the current crisis from this perspective," Destici said while adding that foreign policy is a national issue, and as all the political parties should stand against efforts to interfere in Turkish domestic politics.
Bahçeli stated that first and foremost, Germany needs to show common sense. "It seems difficult that the dialogue channels will be open and that there will be sustainable peace and cooperation between the two countries unless Germany changes its attitude," he added.
Bahçeli said Turkey is not a scapegoat and the Turkish nation is not a useless mass that Germany can scold whenever it wants. He also condemned German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's remarks calling for a hard line on Turkey. Bahçeli reiterated that these statements were efforts to gain support in domestic politics, stating that there are no problems between the people of Turkey and Germany. He said Turkey became a subject of Germany's internal politics ahead of the general elections on Sept. 24.
Germany's support for the "no" campaign during the April 16 referendum was another reason for tension between the two countries. The MHP leader stated that Germany would not gain anything by following these such policies.
BBP Chairman Mustafa Destici also drew attention to Germany's role prior to the April 16 referendum. "Another reason for this tension is the April 16 referendum in Turkey. EU member states, particularly Germany, joined the 'no' campaign and supported it. While they provided all kinds of support for the 'no' campaign, they did not allow Turkish politicians to hold 'yes' campaigns in Europe. Pressure by Germany and other European countries backfired and the 'yes' vote amounted to over 60 percent in Europe and Germany. Our citizens faced pressure there," he said.
On another note, CHP Deputy Çakırözer underlined the importance of having good diplomatic relations while Turkey fights against extreme terrorism and menaces.
"We have to convince all EU member states that Turkey has fair trials and that the rule of law in Turkey functions well for receiving positive responses in extradition requests," he added.
* Contributed by Özgenur Sevinç