German prosecutors on Tuesday morning initiated investigations into members of Osmanen Germania BC, a controversial boxing club in three regions of the country that are linked to the Turkish government and its National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
According to a statement from the German Interior Ministry on Tuesday, the investigations and search warrants issued for the group’s members were prompted by an order from German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere in the North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Hessen regions.
Members of the group are accused of tax evasion, prostitution and involvement in inflicting bodily harm.
The ministry statement said there is a suspicion that the purpose and activities of Osmanen Germania BC run counter to criminal laws.
In the statement the minister said the federal government of Germany and the regional governments are showing that they do not tolerate criminal activities, regardless of their social background.
“With this measure, we are showing once again that our state of law is resolutely and consistently against any form of crime.”
Osmanen Germania BC currently has 22 local groups throughout Germany, with a large part of the approximately 300 members having Turkish roots, according to the ministry’s statement.
The ministry also said the club describes itself as a boxing club and pretends to want to “get [young people] off the street,” but in fact its purpose lies in the violent expansion of territory and power as well as in self-assertion against competing, rocker-like groups.
According to research conducted by investigative news program “Frontal 21” by German public broadcaster ZDF and the Stuttgarter Nachrichten daily and based on leaked German police wiretaps and surveillance records in late 2017, Metin Külünk, a deputy from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), directly and indirectly provided funds to Osmanen Germania BC.
Külünk, a close confidant of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reportedly provided money to the boxing gang to purchase weapons, organize protests and target critics of the Turkish leader, according to Deutsche Welle.
The results of the research suggest a relationship between Osmanen Germania BC and Külünk as well as Turkey’s MİT, the AKP’s European lobbying organization and Erdoğan himself, DW reported in December.
Back then, Külünk described these allegations as a plot by followers of the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
“None of the activities or visits I made in my personal capacity or on behalf of the AKP were illegal. On the contrary, transparency has always been a priority,” Külünk said.
He said the accusations defaming Erdoğan were typical of FETÖ, a derogatory term coined by the AKP government to describe the Gülen movement.