World, Europe

Anti-Turkey terror groups active in Germany: Report

PKK has 14,500, DHKP-C has 650 followers in Germany, according to annual report of German domestic spy agency BfV

24.07.2018
Anti-Turkey terror groups active in Germany: Report Germany Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (R) and Chief of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency Hans-Georg Maassen (L) verbalize intelligence report in Berlin in press conference

BERLIN

Terrorist groups targeting Turkey have expanded their activities and increased their followers in Germany, according to a new report released by a German spy agency on Tuesday.

Members or adherents of the PKK terror group have increased to 14,500 in 2017, up from 14,000 in the previous year, domestic intelligence agency BfV said in its annual report.

“PKK continues to be the largest extremist organisation of foreigners in Germany in terms of members and efficiency,” the report said.

The terrorist group raised more than €14 million ($16.4 million) in Germany, and €25 million ($29.2 million) across Europe in various campaigns last year, the spy agency estimated.

The BfV underlined that while the PKK had changed its name several times over the past years in order to give a positive impression, its organizations in Germany and Europe were still strictly controlled by the authoritarian cadres of the terrorist organization in northern Iraq.

“Even though peaceful events remain the focal aim in Europe, violence continues to be an option of the PKK ideology,” the report said.

The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it has still managed to set up several covert organizations in the country, and used them for its recruitment, propaganda and fundraising activities.

Ankara has long criticized German authorities for not taking serious measures, but tolerating the activities of the PKK and other terrorist organizations that are targeting Turkey.

The BfV report revealed that far-left terror organizations had also managed to build networks in Germany.


- Other groups

The DHKP-C has 650 adherents in the country, and carried out significant propaganda activities through several associations, the report said.

Among the two other outlawed terrorist organizations, TKP/ML had 1,300 members and MLKP had 600 followers in Germany last year.

Berlin’s reluctance to take strong action against anti-Turkey terrorist groups has been a major source of tension between the two countries in recent years.

Turkish politicians have heavily criticised Germany for becoming a safe haven for the members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which orchestrated a defeated coup in 2016.

In its annual report, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency noted that Turkey viewed U.S. based Fetullah Gulen’s FETO organization responsible for the attempted military takeover, but it did not give any detailed information about the activities of the group.

Around 14,000 people with suspected ties to FETO have arrived in Germany over the last two years, and hundreds of them were granted asylum, according to local media reports.

Despite Turkey’s repeated warnings, Berlin has not yet outlawed the group, arguing that they do not constitute a serious threat.

In Germany, which is home to more than 3 million immigrants from Turkey, FETO has a large network with dozens of private schools, businesses and media organizations.

FETO members have tried to avoid public criticism in Germany by focusing on "interfaith dialogue" programs and sticking to “moderate” messages. But former FETO members, who spoke to the German media in recent weeks, highlighted that the group has a dual structure, and despite its “democratic” and “moderate” image in public, it has a secretive and strict hierarchy controlled by its ideological leaders.

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