Merkel says Germany needs more evidence on Gülen movement to call it terrorist organization

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on September 28, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said Germany is carefully investigating Turkey’s arguments regarding the Gülen movement but that they need more evidence, Sputnik’s Turkish service reported.

“We are not at the point of treating the Gülen movement as we treat the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK because we need more information,” Merkel said during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Germany as well as the European Union, the US and Turkey have designated the PKK, the Kurdish armed insurgent movement established in the 1980s, as a terrorist organization.

During the press conference, Erdoğan called on Berlin to extradite what he said were hundreds of supporters of the Gülen movement residing in Germany, according to Reuters.

He also urged Germany to designate the network of Fethullah Gülen — who he blames for an attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 — as a terrorist organization.

After the abortive coup the Turkish government launched a global crackdown on the movement, including attempting to convince countries to close Gülen-linked schools on their soil and abducting allegedly Gülen-linked individuals through intelligence operations from countries such as Kosovo, Moldova, Gabon and Azerbaijan.

Erdoğan arrived in Germany on Thursday for a three-day visit. He is eager to improve ties with Europe’s largest economy and secure investments to shore up a struggling economy at home.

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