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Family of late controversial figure offers €1 mln to anyone proving links to banned group

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The family of Taner Ay, a controversial figure who recently died in a traffic accident, has denied his links to Osmanen Germania — a Turkish nationalist gang banned in Germany — saying they would give anyone who proves otherwise €1 million ($1.13 million), the Kırşehir Haber Vakti news website reported on Friday.

Known as a senior member of the banned group, Ay died in a traffic accident in Bulgaria in late December when the Porsche he was driving plunged into a ravine as he was on his way to Düsseldorf, where he resided.

The family claimed in a written statement that their son had no links to Osmanen Germania or any other illegal groups operating outside Turkey, adding that they had launched legal action against people who claim he was a senior member of the banned gang.

They said claims that Ay had links to Osmanen Germania and that the Turkish government supported the banned group, that Ay served as a mediator between the gang and the Turkish government and that he was paid for it by mafia leaders with links to the government, were “totally baseless.”

Emphasizing that there were no investigations, indictments or court decisions accusing Ay of links to Osmanen Germania, the family added that they would give €1 million ($1.13 million) to anyone who proves otherwise.

“If no one can prove it, we will use that 1 million euros … to punish those who slandered him,” they said.

Osmanen Germania, originally established as a boxing club with no discernible ties to the sport, has threatened local Kurdish activists in the past and was banned by the German government in 2018. The group still operates in various European countries such as the Netherlands and Switzerland.

In January 2019 a German court convicted five members of the gang on charges that include attempted murder, extortion, drug trafficking, deprivation of liberty and forced prostitution and sentenced them to three to six years in prison.

Notorious Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker, who has been sending shockwaves across the country since early May through scandalous revelations on social media about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking, and murders implicating former and current state officials and their family members, mentioned Ay in a YouTube video released in early June.

Peker claimed he had given 1.5 million Turkish lira ($113,376) to Ay upon a request by Metin Külünk, a former lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and a confidant of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to finance Osmanen Germania.

According to a report by German news outlet Stuttgarter Nachtringen citing wiretap records from court documents, Külünk financed the outlawed gang at Erdoğan’s behest and told them to buy automatic weapons such as submachine guns.

According to the German authorities, the Turkish government was also involved in financing the group as Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) funded the group’s purchase of weapons.

Ay’s links to Erdoğan and his AKP government were also revealed in photos he posted on Instagram with such senior politicians as Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, MİT head Hakan Fidan and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Ersin Tatar.

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