An explosive report has revealed that close associates of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and officials of his AKP Party are funding and arming criminal gangs in Germany. This information reportedly was leaked by German intelligence to several media outlets, which subsequently published the allegations.
German-language outlet ZDF reported that German intelligence wiretaps revealed AKP Party officials transferring money to leaders of the “Osmanen Germania” (Ottoman Germany) biker gang. The money was for purchasing weapons and directing attacks on critics of Erdogan’s increasingly tyrannical regime in Turkey among Germany’s sizable Turkish population.
Two AKP officials figure prominently in the reports.
Surveillance records are said to show Metin Külünk, a close friend of Erdogan, giving money to “Osmanen Germania” for the purposes of buying weapons in June 2016. Police officials observed Külünk handing envelopes of money to a senior leader of the gang — who has since been arrested. At the same time, the gang was being directed to cause disturbances as the German Parliament considered a resolution condemning the early-20th century Armenian Genocide by Turkey. The resolution passed.
The second AKP official implicated, Ilkay Arin, is the German representative of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) — the lobbying arm of the AKP in Europe. UETD hires “Osmanen Germania” to handle security for their events.
During one surveilled discussion, Külünk directed Arin to organize an attack on German comedian Jan Bohmermann for reading a poem critical of Erdogan. Erdogan subsequently demanded that Bohmermann be prosecuted for insulting him, and German authorities did indeed open a case. The investigation was later dropped.
Arin was also heard on wiretaps encouraging Turks in Germany to arm themselves, promising them that he could obtain “clean” weapons for them.
According to German authorities, the “Osmanen Germania” biker gang is composed of 2,500 members and 40 chapters, mostly in the North Rhine-Westphalia.
Interior Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia Herbert Reul submitted a report to Parliament in October stating that “Osmanen Germania” was operating as a “counter-terrorism” unit of the MIT Turkish intelligence agency, and harassing Erdogan’s perceived enemies in Germany.
In response to this week’s media reports, State Office for the Protection of the Constitution chairperson Burkhard Freier described the biker gang as a “paramilitary organization.” Said Freier to ZDF: “For us, the Osmanen Germania working as security guards, carrying guns, engaging in violent crimes and clashing with other groups show that they are a paramilitary group. Their political agenda also strengthens this impression.”
Founded in 2015, “Osmanen Germania” advocates an ideological mix of Islamism and Turkish nationalism.
In May 2016, German police intercepted a weapons shipment of automatic weapons to the group.
This past June, more than 400 police officers conducted raids across Germany targeting homes and businesses of “Osmanen Germania” members. The raids resulted in multiple arrests and recovered drugs and weapons.
These developments in the German Turkish community are acute problemsfor the country, as Germany’s Turkish population is estimated to be between three and four million.
Erdogan’s regime also caused disturbances in Germany and Holland earlier this year. AKP officials tried to rally Turkish populations in those countries to support the Turkish constitutional referendum that increased Erdogan’s powers.
As I reported here at PJ Media in March, Dutch officials expelled Turkey’s family minister as riots among Turkish populations prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency just days before the Dutch parliamentary elections.
Germany and other European countries also opened investigations into Turkish intelligence’s use of mosques funded by Turkey’s religious ministry to spy on political opponents living in Europe. Some of those Turkish-funded mosques were found to be distributing material denigrating other religions and glorifying “martyrdom.”
Erdogan and other senior Turkish officials have struck a menacing tone with former European allies:
— Rita Cosby (@RitaCosby) March 16, 2017
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) March 17, 2017
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) March 22, 2017
The U.S. has also had recent issues with our Turkish NATO allies. Earlier this year, Turkish state media revealed the location of U.S. special forces in Syria.