German government sources have denied a statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claiming that he handed over a list of 136 individuals allegedly linked to the Gülen movement living in Germany to German officials during a recent visit to the country, according to a report by German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on Monday.
On Monday morning Turkish news outlets reported on the statements made by Erdoğan as he returned from his state visit to Germany, where they said he had handed the list over to German officials and requested legal action. The 136 names on the list were of individuals with alleged links to the Gülen movement.
The German government officials contacted by DW, however, have denied that any list was received from Turkish authorities and have categorically ruled out that any requests were made for legal action against or extradition of individuals in Germany.
The German sources said they attributed Erdoğan’s statements to confusion experienced under Turkey’s new presidential system, which was inaugurated in July of this year. “We believe the list mentioned by President Erdoğan has been discussed as a result of false or incomplete briefings that have arisen due to this confusion,” DW quoted the sources as saying.
Besides the purge and arrest of thousands of alleged members of the Gülen movement in the country since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government led by President Erdoğan has used its diplomatic clout and intelligence services to pursue sympathizers of the movement overseas.
During his visit, Erdoğan also reportedly made a separate request to his German hosts to extradite Can Dündar to Turkey. Dündar is a Turkish journalist living in Germany who received a five-year prison sentence in Turkey on charges of spying.
The Cumhuriyet daily published pictures purportedly showing Turkish trucks sent by the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) to carry weapons to Syrian rebel groups while Dündar was its editor-in-chief.
The German officials told DW that Germany considered Turkey’s legal action against Dündar to be politically motivated and said the Turkish side “well knew” they would make no moves to extradite the journalist. (SCF with Ahval)