Yıldırım accuses Germany of ‘harboring terrorists’

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People wave Turkish flags during a campaigning event with the Turkish Prime Minister in Oberhausen, western Germany, on February 18, 2017. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks to an expected crowd of some 10,000 people of Turkish origin in Germany to promote support for an April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers. / AFP PHOTO / Sascha Schuermann

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Saturday accused Germany and other European countries of harboring “terrorist organizations.”

“Unfortunately, terrorist organizations are allowed to swarm around here and in this geography,” said Yıldırım during a referendum campaign meeting in Düsseldorf, criticizing Berlin for allowing people who Ankara accuses of organizing a failed coup attempt on July 15 in Turkey to seek asylum.

Taking his criticism further, Yıldırım said, “Those who we used to know as friends were disappointed when the coup attempt failed.”

“The days when Turkey was given lessons and bowed down have ended.”

Yıldırım’s campaign came amid tension between Ankara and Berlin over claims of Turkish imams spying in Germany.

A German deputy filed a complaint against Yıldırım over alleged links to the spying Turkish imams in Germany.

German Spiegel reported on the legal complaint filed by deputy Volker Beck on Saturday at a prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe.

Beck asked for questioning of the Turkish prime minister over his connection to the spying imams appointed by the Turkish government and asked for his detention if necessary.

The complaint states that imams who illegally profiled Gülen movement sympathizers and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s critics in Germany are directly linked to the Office of the Prime Minister in Turkey.

German police teams on Wednesday raided the apartments of four Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) imams in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate who are suspected of acting as informants on sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (GBA) said in a statement that the imams had acted on an order issued on Sept. 20 of last year by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate to profile Gülen movement sympathizers.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the four imams were members of DİTİB.
“It is very clear that the influence of the Turkish state on DİTİB is big. The association must plausibly disengage itself from Ankara,” Maas said in a statement.

The GBA said Wednesday’s searches were aimed at finding more evidence to link the suspects to espionage activities.

“The suspects are suspected of having collected information about members of the so-called Gülen movement and passing it on to the consulate general in Cologne,” the GBA said.

Last month the GBA launched an investigation into Turkish intelligence operations on German soil after a lawmaker filed a criminal complaint. Austria is also investigating whether Turkey has been operating an informer network targeting Gülen followers on its soil, via its embassy in Vienna.

Turkey has accused Germany of harboring militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and far-leftists of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has carried out attacks in Turkey.

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ condemned the raids and accused Germany of not fulfilling the requirements of the rule of law.

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