Jun 13 2018

Turkey says it expects concrete steps from Germany regarding Gülenists

Turkey expects Berlin to take concrete steps against the Gülen movement that it blames for the 2016 failed coup and extradite thousands of its members who have sought asylum in Germany, the Turkish pro-government Hürriyet newspaper quoted the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Mahir Ünal as saying.

Ünal’s comments follow a report by state-run Anadolu news agency on Wednesday that said Adil Öksüz, accused of organising the coup and being the key link between the rebel military officers and U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, had been seen in Germany.

The report was based on a tip-off, Ünal said, adding that while the government does not have solid information that Öksüz is in Berlin, he said the government had conveyed its frustration to Germany regarding members of the Gülen movement allowed to move freely there.

“We have information on our hands that many former members of the judiciary and police who are members of the Gülen movement are in Germany,” Ünal said. “We are talking to Germany about them. We expect Germany to take solid steps on this matter in the coming days.”

The Gülen movement and the AKP were once close allies until the two wings of Turkish Islamism fell out. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the Gülenists of trying to build a parallel state by infiltrating its adherents into the civil service, army, police and media. Prosecutors linked to Gülen then launched a string of corruption charges against ministers and their relatives.

The United States and European Union countries have said they have yet to see the proof that Gülen directly ordered the bid to overthrow Erdoğan, in which more than 200 were killed, and courts have so far refused to extradite those accused on the grounds that they will not face a fair trial in Turkey.

Between 2016, and early March 2018, 15,654 people from Turkey sought asylum in Germany, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.