Germany says Turkey sought extradition of 53 people, not 4,500 as Erdoğan claims

While Turkey claimed that they sought the extradition of 4,500 suspects linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from Germany, the German Justice Ministry said Turkey had asked for the extradition of only 53, Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

According to the report, German Justice Ministry officials said Turkey had sought the extradition of 52 people from Germany last year and that Germany had agreed to extradite 20 involved in petty crime. The officials said Turkey requested that Germany return 53 people this year and shared their files with Germany, while Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in July that Turkey had shared the files of 4,500 people accused of PKK membership with Germany.

German officials denied Erdoğan’s claims that Turkey had provided the files of 4,500 people or asked for their extradition.

The official statistics in Germany concerning extradition requests in 2016 will be announced in 2018 and the requests made in 2017 will be announced in 2019. In response to a parliamentary question by the Left Party, the German government said Turkey had sought the extradition of 306 people between 2009 and 2015 and that Germany agreed to the extradition of 138.

GERMAN DEPUTIES VISIT NATO AIR BASE IN KONYA

Meanwhile, a delegation of German lawmakers on Friday visited German soldiers stationed at a NATO airbase in the Turkish province of Konya following NATO’s mediation in a row between the two allies, the Doğan news agency reported on Friday. The Turkish government earlier gave a German defense commission team permission to visit their troops at the NATO base in Konya upon NATO’s request.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had offered to broker a compromise between the two NATO allies by arranging a visit by Bundestag lawmakers to German troops serving at the military base in Konya.

“The secretary-general has now offered to arrange a visit for parliamentarians to Konya airfield within the NATO framework,” alliance spokesman Piers Cazalet said. “Konya airfield is vital for NATO operations in support of Turkey and the Counter-ISIL Coalition.”

Turkey denied German lawmakers a visit to German troops flying AWACS surveillance planes from the NATO base due to tense relations between the two countries. As Germany has begun to withdraw forces from Turkey’s İncirlik Airbase after the Turkish government denied requests from German parliamentarians to visit the troops there, NATO’s concern about further withdrawals has increased and urged it to take action.

After being denied a visit to German troops by Ankara, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there would be no compromise and that asylum applications by Turkish nationals in Germany would not be part of the political bargain since these two issues have “nothing, but nothing, to do with each other.”

Underlining that any demands from the Turkish authorities concerning asylum requests by Turkish citizens would be turned down, Merkel said: “Before we draw conclusions, we should first wait for talks and discuss these things with NATO’s help.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret in a statement in May over Germany approving the asylum requests of a number of Turkish military officers. “With this decision, German authorities have shown tolerance and embraced a pro-coup mentality by disregarding democratic principles and values as well as the requirements of being allies,” said the ministry’s statement.

ERDOĞAN ENDORSES ADD AHEAD OF GERMAN ELECTIONS

Amid a war of words between Berlin and Ankara, Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan on Friday endorsed the Allianz Deutscher Demokraten (ADD), a political party in Germany founded by Turkish-Germans, expressing hope that the party would participate in elections all over Germany.

“A party was founded with the name ‘ADD.’ I think the majority of people who established the party are our kin. They might have used my name thinking it was a unifying factor among Turks there. If my picture can contribute to their strength, I will be happy. I hope they participate in elections all over Germany,” said Erdoğan, referring to the new party’s use of his picture and name on their campaign posters, during a press conference in İstanbul before leaving for an official visit to Kazakhstan.

Underlining that the participation of ADD in elections is an important step on the way to European Parliament elections, Erdoğan said: “I believe this is a good step. They won’t be afraid. They will present themselves well. They will participate in the elections. It will be good to see the strength of our kin there.”

Erdoğan’s statements ahead of the elections in Germany on 24 September have created tension between the two countries.

The Turkish president last month called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for parties treating Turkey as an enemy.

“They closed the doors of Germany to the Turkish president. [Chancellor Angela] Merkel is also one of them. They have no relation to democracy. Now their foreign minister [German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel] snipes at me. Who are you? I am not your interlocutor,” Erdoğan said, adding:

“Never vote for parties that are the enemy of Turkey. Go with Turkey-friendly parties. Don’t worry if the parties are small. Let’s make them bigger.”

German Foreign Minister Gabriel reacted to Erdoğan’s remarks and called it “an unprecedented attack on German sovereignty.”

German Chancellor Merkel also said she would not tolerate any interference in the German elections. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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