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Nationalist Turkish biker group banned in Germany

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Nationalist Turkish biker group banned in Germany
The logo of a group member's jacket in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA
11:01 CEST+02:00
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has banned the Turkish nationalist biker group Osmanen Germania BC from operating in Germany, after which police raids took place on the group in four states.

"The association poses a serious threat to individual legal interests and the general public," Seehofer said in Berlin on Tuesday morning, adding that the ban is part of a government crackdown on organized crime.

Police raided group hangouts on Tuesday morning in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hessen, handing over Seehofer’s orders and seizing the association’s assets. Yet no arrests are planned, said police.

Extensive searches already took place in North-Rhine Westphalia in March, after which the state had campaigned for a nationwide ban, according to the Interior Ministry.

The Turkish nationalist organization has a minimum of 300 members Germany-wide, according to police. Active since April 2015, it is connected to Turkey’s conservative Justice and Development (AKP) party - known for its right wing views - and associated with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Besides Hessen and North Rhine-Westphalia, the group is most active in the southwest. In total, they encompassed 16 local chapters throughout Germany.

In Stuttgart, eight alleged members have been on trial since March, three of whom are considered to be in the highest ranks of the group. The men are accused of attempted murder, extortion, drug trafficking, forced prostitution, pimping and unlawful detention.

Seehofer explained that the federal and state governments were resolutely opposed to all forms of organized crime, including biker gangs. Members of the now-banned association committed serious crimes, he said.

"Anyone who rejects the rule of law cannot expect any indulgence from us,” he added.

Police observe a gathering of Osmanen Germania in Neuss, North Rhine Westphalia

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