Germany rejects Turkish government’s request to freeze assets affiliated with Gülen movement

Germany has rejected a formal request from Turkey to freeze assets of the alleged members of the Gülen movement, Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday. Without naming its sources, the magazine said the Turkish government had asked the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin at the end of April to freeze the assets of the Gülen movement and its alleged members in Germany. It attached a list with 80 names, it said.

The German government officially rejected the request at the end of June, telling Ankara there were “no legal grounds” for Germany’s financial watchdog BaFin to crack down on the Gülen movement and its supporters, the report said.

The report also suggested that the number of Turkish extradition requests sent to Germany had increased to 53 since the beginning of the year, already exceeding the total in the whole of 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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