Turkey slams Germany for failing to hand over ‘terrorists’

Turkey slams Germany for failing to hand over ‘terrorists’

Thu Nov 3, 2016 2:31PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed Germany for failing to extradite supporters of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the mid-July abortive coup.

“We are concerned that Germany … has become the backyard of the Gulenist terror organization,” Erdogan said in the capital, Ankara, on Thursday.

Germans shall be “judged by history,” he said, accusing Berlin of creating a free “haven for terrorists,” referring to the supporters of Gulen.

Ankara blames Gulen and his wide-ranging support-base for the military coup attempt in July.

Erdogan further censured Berlin for what he described as harboring terrorists affiliated with other anti-Ankara militant groups.

He said Germany has given asylum to both militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which have waged a three-decade insurgency for autonomy, and members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi or DHKP-C), who have carried out armed attacks in Turkey, as well.

“You will be judged in history for abetting terrorism … Germany has become an important haven for terrorists,” Erdogan claimed.

Turks slam post-coup clampdown

Meanwhile, thousands of people, mostly academics, students and union members, staged a protest rally on Thursday in front of Istanbul University under the strict surveillance of Turkish riot police.

The protesters voiced opposition to a government-ordered purge of thousands of education staff since the attempted coup on July 15.

Some 110,000 civil servants, judges, prosecutors and police have been suspended or dismissed over suspected links to Gulen.

Among those suspended or removed in the purges since July are nearly 50,000 academics, teachers and other education staff.

However, Tahsin Yesildere, head of a university teaching staff association, has defended the crackdown, saying, “We are facing a period worse than the coup.”

“In our country, which is being turned into a one-man regime through the state of emergency (declared after the coup), all those in opposition resisting this trend have become targets,” he added.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the failed coup, when an army faction, using helicopters and tanks, clashed with government troops and people on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul in an attempt to overthrow the government.

Ankara is under fire by opposition parties and human rights groups who say Ankara uses the state of emergency to clamp down on all dissenting voices.

On Thursday, Turkish media cited Ankara’s chief prosecutor Harun Kodalak as saying that the first trials of the suspects arrested in the wake of Turkey’s failed coup will begin in early 2017, without providing an exact date.

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