Germany Tuesday pledged to take stronger action against the activities of the PKK terrorist organization as its members ramp up violence in the country.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said criminal offenses by foreign extremist and terrorist groups in Germany increased more than 50 percent last year, largely due to the PKK.
"State authorities will continue to do everything to ensure that foreign terrorist and extremist organizations don't use Germany as a sphere of action. This also and specifically applies to the PKK," he stressed.
PKK followers committed 1,873 criminal offenses in Germany last year, according to annual statistics announced by the Interior Minister, an increase of more than 80 percent over the previous year, while violent offenses rose from 152 to 305.
Despite being banned in Germany since 1993, the PKK remains active with nearly 14,000 followers in the country.
Supporters of the PKK and its Syrian branch, the People's Protection Units (YPG), claimed responsibility last year for dozens of attacks against mosques, associations and other Turkish institutions in Germany to protest Turkey's counterterrorism operations in northwestern Syria.
Ankara has long criticized Berlin for not taking serious measures against the PKK and its affiliates in Germany, which use the country as a platform for fundraising, recruitment and spreading propaganda.
Seehofer, an influential conservative politician, had promised a hard stance against foreign extremist and terrorist groups after assuming his new post in 2018.
In February, two major propaganda outlets of the PKK in Germany were banned and dissolved following legal action by the Interior Ministry.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the death of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
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