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Police swoop on Turkish biker gang in nationwide raids

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Police swoop on Turkish biker gang in nationwide raids
Photo: DPA
14:43 CET+01:00
On Tuesday morning, officers in three German states raided properties belonging to “Osmanen Germania” - a Turkish nationalist biker gang with suspected links to Turkey's President.

The early morning searches were centred around the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where police raided 41 different properties. In some instances special forces led the operations, as the bikers are considered potentially dangerous.

Police in Hesse also swooped on ten of the gang's properties, while the Stuttgarter Zeitung has reported that police in Baden-Württemberg were involved in raids in four towns and at a prison where some of the gang's leaders are serving time.

The Interior Ministry said that they had the strong suspicion that the gang's activities and aims were illegal.

“The federal government and the states showed with these operations that we don't tolerate criminality, regardless of what part of society it comes from,” said acting Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.

The interior minisrty in NRW has previously alleged that the “Osmanen Germania” have links to Turkey's ruling AKP party and to people in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle.

Osmanen Germania are registered as a Verein (club) with the stated purpose of providing boxing training to vulnerable young people. But the Interior Ministry claims that their real purpose is to control the streets through violence and to grow their power against other biker gangs.

The Interior Ministry said that Tuesday's measures were not aimed at a ban on the “Osmanen Germania”, but at this stage it is hoped that evidence collected during the raids will provide more clarity on their activities.

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