A German intelligence official in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg has called for the deportation of the leader of a controversial Turkish gang, known as Osmanen Germania, whose activities were recently banned in Germany, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.
Speaking to Frontal 21, a program on German TV station ZDF, and to the Neuen Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag newspaper, Ralf Michelfelder, head of the Baden-Württemberg intelligence department, said, “It is necessary to not keep criminals, especially those who committed such serious crimes, in Germany,” adding that the gang’s leader should be deported after serving his sentence.
Michelfelder said a step toward the deportation of the gang’s members would also affect another gang member who introduces himself as the “deputy chairman of the gang worldwide” and another one who introduces himself as the “Stuttgart city leader,” in addition to the gang’s leader.
In July, the activities of the gang were banned by German authorities, who accused the group of carrying out violent crimes.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said at the time that the ban, which affects 16 club chapters, was part of a state and federal crackdown on organized crime.
“And of course that applies to biker groups like Osmanen Germania, whose members commit serious offenses,” the minister said.
“Those who flout the rule of law shouldn’t expect any leniency from us.”
Since its founding in 2015, Osmanen Germania has become one of the fastest-growing gangs in the country.
Eight suspected members have been on trial in Stuttgart since March, facing charges that include attempted murder, extortion, drug trafficking, deprivation of liberty and forced prostitution.
The group is believed to have close ties to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and in the past has advocated Turkish nationalist and extreme right-wing views.
AKP deputy Metin Külünk, a confidant of Turkish 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 research by DW suggest a relationship between Osmanen Germania and Külünk as well as Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the AKP’s European lobbying organization and Erdoğan himself.
Külünk described the allegations at the time as a plot by followers of the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.