PKK: Turkey detains five Germans on terror charges

Turkish authorities have detained five Germans over alleged links to Kurdish militants, pro-Kurdish media reported.

PKK: Turkey detains five Germans on terror charges
Image: Ozan KOSE / AFP

The suspects were taken into custody on charges of spreading propaganda, the pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya said late Friday, and of belonging to an illegal organisation which was not named but is likely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK is considered to be a terror group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.

The five, who were detained this week, were being held in Ankara, the agency said.

It said the arrests were part of an investigation by the Ankara public prosecutor. His office would, however, not confirm the report when contacted by AFP.

The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 during which tens of thousands of people have been killed.

The German foreign ministry meanwhile would only say that it was “aware of the cases” and that the embassy in Ankara was providing consular assistance.

The German interior ministry denied claims that information leading to the detention of the five was handed over to Turkish authorities during Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's visit to Ankara this week.

However, a ministry spokesman would not rule out that such information could have been exchanged “as part of the routine cooperation between our security services”.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in March this year threatened to detain individuals who came to Turkey if they were involved with the PKK and other groups.

“We have now taken measures against those who take part in the terror organisation's meetings in Europe, Germany and then come to Antalya, Bodrum, Mugla for a holiday.

“Let them enter the airports. They will be detained,” he said.

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Anti-Semitism ‘massive problem’ in Germany, says Jewish leader on terror attack anniversary

On the second anniversary of a far-right terror attack at a German synagogue, the German Jewish Council has warned that the government needs to make more efforts to stop the spread of anti-Semitism online.

Anti-Semitism 'massive problem' in Germany, says Jewish leader on terror attack anniversary
A star of David on the roof of the Halle synagogue. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

Two years after a terrorist attack in the east German town of Halle that left two people dead, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews, said that more needed to be done in the fight against anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.

“The spread and incitement of hate, for example in the form of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories via social media, is a massive problem,” Schuster told DPA.

On October 9th 2019, a heavily armed right-wing extremist called Stephan Balliet tried to enter the Halle city synagogue on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

When he failed to do so, he shot a 40-year-old passerby. He later killed a 20-year-old man at a kebab shop. While trying to escape, the 28-year-old injured several people before he was caught by the police.

The city of Halle is commemorating the event on Saturday, with wreaths to be laid at the scene of the crime. Reiner Haseloff, state leader of Saxony-Anhalt, is expected to attend.

Balliet was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 by the Naumburg Higher Regional Court. His sentence will be followed by preventive detention.

Funs for synagogue security

While praising the German government for introducing a law that makes social media companies responsible for hateful content posted on their sites, Schuster said that the legislation needed to be extended to messenger services such as Telegram.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that the internet is not a lawless space,” he said.

According to Schuster, the German government reacted quickly after the Halle attack by providing money to improve security at Jewish institutions.

This was an important step, he said. “However, there is still much to be done at the political and social level to combat growing anti-Semitism.”

SEE ALSO: Four held over foiled ‘Islamist’ attack on German synagogue