Turkey, World, Europe

Germany falling short on Turkish extradition requests

Among a total of 136 extradition requests in 2006-2016, Germany has only accepted 3

Ayşe Hümeyra Atılgan   | 16.11.2016
Germany falling short on Turkish extradition requests

Istanbul

ANKARA

Germany is failing to meet Turkey’s expectations on extraditing terrorists residing there, resulting in strained ties between the two countries.

Ankara says Berlin is reluctant to take strong action against terrorist groups, while Berlin says they are fighting all terrorist organizations.

Turkey has formally asked Germany to extradite 136 suspects, including members of the PKK and DHKP-C terrorist organizations, according to the Justice Ministry's International Law Department.

Among those extradition requests in 2006-2016, Germany has only accepted three and declined 110 others. The formal process continues for another 23 suspects.

Turkish authorities have urged Germany to extradite the terrorists and criticized the country for providing shelter to terrorist groups.

But German officials, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit to Turkey this week, have repeatedly denied that their country had become a platform for terrorist organizations.

The PKK was banned in Germany in 1993 but has more than 14,000 active members in the country and raised more than 13 million euros ($14.3 million) in 2015, according to the annual report of German domestic intelligence agency BfV.

The country, which hosts a 3 million strong Turkish community, is also among countries where the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, has a large network with dozens of private schools, businesses, and media organizations.

Following the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, which left 246 people martyred and some 2,200 injured, Turkey also asked Germany to extradite suspects allegedly linked to the deadly attempt.

However, as yet there has been no answer for 22 suspected FETO members.

The group includes two high-profile prosecutors, Zekeriya Oz and Celal Kara, both accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.

They are accused of playing a key role in a controversial anti-corruption probe in late 2013 that targeted the upper echelons of government.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said two weeks ago that Berlin would not extradite any suspects if they faced “politically motivated” charges in Turkey.

But it is not only German authorities that Turkey has formally asked to extradite members of terrorist groups.

A total of 263 official extradition requests were sent to EU countries in the same 10-year period, with only eight accepted, but 161 declined.

Among the suspects, 37 are allegedly FETO members, including 11 soldiers who fled to Greece after the attempted coup.

As yet there has been no answer from EU countries to those Turkish extradition requests.

*Reporting by Kemal Karadag; Writing by Ayse Humeyra Atilgan 

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