Friday

16th Nov 2018

Germany says Turkey supports terrorist groups

  • Pro-Erdogan rally in Cologne, Germany, two weeks after the failed 15-July coup (Photo: Andreas Trojak)

The German government believes that Turkey finances terrorist organisations such as Hamas and armed Islamist groups in Syria, a leaked document shows.

"The many expressions of solidarity and support actions by the ruling AKP and President Erdogan for the Egyptian MB (Muslim Brotherhood), Hamas and groups of armed Islamist opposition in Syria emphasise their ideological affinity with the (broader) Muslim Brotherhood,” the ministry of interior wrote in reply to a question by left-wing party Die Linke,

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic organisation in Egypt, which came to power when winning elections following the Egyptian revolution in 2012 but was removed in a coup a year later.

It is considered a terrorist organisation by Egypt, but not by the EU and US.

Hamas is an Islamist militant group democratically elected to govern the Gaza Strip, a section of Palestinian territory which lies between Israel and Egypt. It is considered a terrorist organisation by the EU and the United States.

The document also reportedly claims that Ankara has recently deepened its links with these groups, up to becoming "the central hub for Islamist groups in the Middle East region as a result of the gradually Islamicised domestic and foreign policy of Ankara since 2011”.

It also said that a fourth of German nationals who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State or other jihadist groups, the so-called foreign fighters, were of Turkish origin.

The ministry of interior had asked to keep the document secret.

Germany is home to the largest Turkish diaspora in the world with roughly 3 million people of Turkish heritage living in the Bundesrepublik.

But relations between the two counties have soured since the parliament voted to recognise the massacres of Armenians by Turkish Ottoman troops in 1915 as genocide.

They suffered fresh controversy when chancellor Angela Merkel allowed for German comedian Jan Boehmermann to be prosecuted for having insulted Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They have also deteriorated after the botched coup attempt of 15 July, which Ankara says was masterminded by an elderly Islamic teacher, Fethullah Gulen, living in the US.

Germany condemned the attempt to seize power by military means. But it also fretted that Turkey’s post-coup purge of Gulen loyalists is spreading to German cities.

Gulen-linked businesses in Germany have been pestered by Erdogan supporters. German-based Turkish mosques have also read out a sermon accusing Gulen that was sent to them by a religious authority in Ankara, reporting to the Turkish prime minister’s office.

German politicians of different colours have urged Turkish-German citizens to identify with Germany, rather than Turkey, and not to take part in the purge.

Meanwhile, a poll last week showed that the majority of Germans would like to stop Turkey’s EU membership talks.

Accession talks aside, the EU and Turkey in March struck a deal to curb irregular migration in return for visa-free travel for Turkish nationals and other perks.

Germany's European affairs minister Michael Roth, a Social Democrat, said on Tuesday that it would be difficult to fulfil the five remaining criteria that would grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel to the EU in October, as planned.

But German finance minster Wolfgang Schaeuble, from Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, said that Germany must continue working with Ankara to uphold the migrant deal.

"I absolutely don't like what Erdogan is doing, but I do not think that we should end cooperation with him," Schaeuble said.

"It is in our own interest to keep working together."

Analysis

How the EU helped erode Turkish democracy

By neglecting Turkey for years and by failing to find its own solution on refugees the EU lost leverage on Turkey and finds itself played "like a yoyo" by its hardman leader.

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us