German Ambassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann has said his country’s judiciary does not recognize the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and that Turkey should present credible evidence of criminal activity to Germany for the extradition of Gülen-linked individuals.
Speaking to CNN Türk’s Hakan Çelik for an interview over the weekend, Erdmann said Germany recognizes the terrorist threats against Turkey but that there is a problem between Turkey and Germany regarding how they perceive the Gülen movement.
The Turkish government, which accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, refers to the group as a terrorist organization. The movement, inspired by the views of Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.
Turkey has been seeking the extradition of Gülen-linked figures from Germany as many people from the movement have sought asylum there to escape political persecution in Turkey.
Erdmann said the German judiciary can take action only if Turkey presents documents and information showing a particular Gülen-linked person’s involvement in criminal activity.
When Çelik asked Erdmann why he refers to the group as the Gülen movement and not as FETÖ, a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terror organization, Erdmann said it is impossible for him to refer to the group as such because the German judiciary does not recognize it as a terror group.
Erdmann said he can only use expressions that are valid from the perspective of the German judiciary. He said the Gülen movement is very active in social and cultural areas in Germany and runs schools there.