German Interior Ministry denies receiving extradition list from Erdoğan

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Berlin, Germany on September 28, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Germany’s Interior Ministry has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not present a list of 136 people to German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose extradition he demands from Germany, the artıgerçek news website reported on Tuesday.

Erdoğan paid an official visit to Germany in September. Speaking to Turkish journalists who accompanied him during his trip, he said a list of 136 Gülen followers was given to the German government demanding with a demand that Germany take legal action against them or extradite them to Turkey.

Erdoğan and his government accuse the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding a failed coup attempt in July 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.

The German Interior Ministry made the announcement in response to a parliamentary question from Ulla Jelpke from the Left Party in the German parliament.

Jelpke said Erdoğan tried to pressure Germany to obtain financial aid, pretending that such a list exists, adding that it was shameful for Erdoğan to lie because such a list does not exist at all.

Back then, Erdoğan told the Turkish journalists he did not exactly know the names on the list but said it was an extensive list that was given to Berlin, adding that he expects the country to act with sensitivity on the issue.

According to the ministry statement, Erdoğan only wanted the extradition of Turkish journalist Can Dündar, former editor of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, from Germany.

Dündar and a colleague were sentenced in 2016 to five years in prison for publishing a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. They were released pending appeal, and Dündar left the country.

More than 150,000 people have been detained and 90,000 put in pretrial detention in Turkey over Gülen links since the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, Erdoğan has called on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers in their countries.

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