Berlin against Ankara over its support for Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East
A confidential report leaked to German broadcaster ARD indicates that the Turkish government and President Erdogan are close to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic extremist movements in the region. The Turkish judiciary asks two life sentences and 1,900 years in prison for exiled Islamic leader Fetullah Gulen.
Berlin (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A confidential report from the German government points the finger at the Turkish government for supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East.
The document – produced by the Interior Ministry – notes that Turkish President Erdogan's government supports Palestinian Hamas, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and various Islamist groups fighting in Syria. It also confirms the "ideological affinity" of these movements with Turkey’s leaders.
For the first time the German government acknowledges a direct link between Turkey and extremist movements. This corroborates ambiguities noted by experts and analysts with respect to Ankara's policy towards Islamic fundamentalists and jihadist groups, including the Islamic state (IS), active in Syria and Iraq.
For German officials, Turkey has deepened ties with the groups and has even become a 'platform for action' in the region. “As a result of the step-by-step Islamization of its foreign and domestic policy since 2011, Turkey has become the central platform for action by Islamist groups in the Middle East,” the document states.
The release of the document is a sign of growing tensions between Ankara and the West, especially the United States, and the European Union.
The failed coup in July has given Turkish leaders, especially Erdogan, an opportunity to launch a purge with tens of thousands of arrests.
With the Turkish president bent on reintroducing the death penalty for coup leaders, any possible further step towards EU membership would be precluded.
In response to the EU, Ankara is threatening to cancel the agreement with Brussels to manage the flow of refugees on the Mediterranean coast, while the standoff over visa-free travel for Turks in the EU continues.
Meanwhile in Turkey, the government plans to release some 38,000 prisoners to make room for coup leaders arrested in the aftermath of the (failed) coup.
The Turkish Minister of Justice made the announcement, saying that the move was not an amnesty, and excluded people jailed for murder, domestic violence and attacks against the state.
At the same time, the Turkish government and judiciary have upped the ante against exiled Islamic leader Fetullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally, who has been blamed for the attempted coup.
After a quick investigation, Turkish prosecutors have demanded two life sentences and an additional 1,900 years in prison for US-based Muslim preacher and billionaire.
In a 2,527-page indictment approved by prosecutors in the Usak region of western Turkey, Gulen is charged with "attempting to destroy the constitutional order by force" and "forming and running an armed terrorist group”.